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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2018 Apr;37 Suppl 1:S184-S194. doi: 10.1111/dar.12702. Epub 2018 Apr 17.

A managed alcohol program in Sydney, Australia: Acceptability, cost-savings and non-beverage alcohol use.

Author information

1
Alcohol and Drug Service, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia.
2
St Vincent's Clinical School, UNSW Medicine, University of NSW, Sydney, Australia.
3
Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
4
School of Social Sciences, University of NSW, Sydney, Australia.
5
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of NSW, Sydney, Australia.
6
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:

Managed alcohol programs (MAPs) are a novel harm reduction intervention for people who experience long-term homelessness and severe long-term alcohol dependence. MAPs provide regulated amounts of alcohol onsite under supervision. Preliminary international evidence suggests that MAPs are associated with improvements such as reduced non-beverage alcohol consumption and decreases in some alcohol-related harms. There are currently no MAPs in Australia. We aimed to assess the feasibility of a MAP in inner-Sydney.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

A survey among eligible homeless alcohol-dependent residents of an inner-Sydney short-stay alcohol withdrawal service occurred in 2014 to assess acceptability. Administrative data were analysed to ascertain estimates of cost-savings for a MAP based in Sydney.

RESULTS:

Fifty-one eligible participants were surveyed. More than one-quarter (28%) reported consumption of non-beverage alcohol. A residential model received greatest support (76%); the majority (75%) of participants indicated a willingness to pay at least 25% of their income to utilise a MAP. Hospital and crisis accommodation cost-savings were conservatively estimated at AUD$926 483.40 and AUD$347 574.00, respectively per year for a 15-person residential MAP.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings demonstrate the acceptability of a MAP in Sydney among a target population sample, with the implementation of a residential MAP likely to produce significant cost-savings. A trial of a Sydney MAP evaluating the impact on health and social outcomes, including a comprehensive economic evaluation, is strongly recommended.

KEYWORDS:

alcohol; harm reduction; homelessness; managed alcohol program; non-beverage alcohol

PMID:
29665174
DOI:
10.1111/dar.12702
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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