Call it a new twist on the old “teach a man to fish” adage. A group in Vancouver, British Columbia, is teaching inveterate alcoholics to brew their own beer and make their own wine, in an attempt to keep them from drinking unsafe liquids to get an alcoholic high.
The project is the work of the , which works to help people who suffer from mental illness and addictions in downtown Vancouver. News of the beer and wine project is spreading weeks after the publicly funded group’s Drug Users Resource Center unveiled a coin-operated machine that .
The Portland Hotel Society’s leaders say they want to provide safe alternatives to people who might otherwise be forced into risky and unsafe behavior — everything from shoplifting booze to drinking any substance they can find that contains alcohol.
“Obviously, we’d rather they didn’t drink,” the society’s executive director, Mark Townsend, tells the . “But if they do, we’d rather they didn’t drink hand sanitizer.”
The brewing program, which began about six months ago, requires participants to make several commitments in exchange for about five liters of home-brewed beer. Townsend says that in addition, they also get a sense of pride and achievement in making their own beer.
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