Wet Houses, Where Alcoholics Aren’t Urged to Get Treatment
Proponents of this theory hold that it’s OK to allow alcoholics to drink rather than try to move them to treatment and save their lives. In some places across the country, alcoholics are allowed to live in houses where no treatment is provided and people are allowed to drink themselves to death. A piece on Minnesota Public Radio (“MPR”) dubbed the St. Anthony Residence in St. Paul, where 60 men were living in December 2010, a “hospice”. At the time that article appeared on the MPR website, Minnesota had four “wet houses” in the state.
The arguments for and against wet houses are fairly obvious. Those in favor say treatment doesn’t work for some people and the more humane act is to give these people a home and allow them to live out their days as comfortably as possible. Some alcoholics are simply hopeless, advocates say. Why make them continue the cycle of DUIs, incarcerations, and relying on emergency rooms for emergency care? (They’re provided with medical care if they get sick in these Minnesota homes.) They also cost the government (and taxpayers) a ton of money living this way.
Critics, however, including William Moyers, author of “Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption,” say this thinking makes no sense. Just as you don’t give up on people with cancer, you just don’t give up on people with an addiction.
A more recent article about wet houses appeared in The New York Times Magazine in April. In this article, an employee at one of the houses said people who live there actually moderate their drinking, and the houses save taxpayers money since they’re funded by non-profits and others.
These houses have to be one of the most controversial topics ever.