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by Peter Moskos

December 13, 2010

The Wet House

This is counter-intuitive thinking I love. The "Wet House." They drink more. You pay less. Just give addicts what they want.

You want to save their soul or protect the rest of us? Sometimes you have to pick between the two (and I'm picking the latter!).

If I remember correctly, there was an article (perhaps in the New York Times Magazine?) about some drunk house in some Scandinavian Country. Seemed like a horrible place... and an excellent use of tax-payer dollars.
Consider Marion Hagerman. In his 39 years of drinking, the 54-year-old has been arrested about 60 times. He has kept drinking despite six drunken-driving convictions and six 28-day treatment sessions.

His drinking has cost the public more than $450,000. And since he was admitted to St. Anthony's two years ago?

Nothing. Not a single arrest, detox stay or emergency-room visit.

It's not that he's turned his life around — he still drinks mouthwash, which he stashes in a nearby Dumpster. But he has drastically cut his cost to the public.

"I use to stumble around and make a fool of myself outside," said Hagerman, as he relit a day-old cigarette butt in his bare room. "But now I go home and do it here."

[Kudos to Pete Guither.]

3 comments:

MisguidedPotential said...

Do they still have city-sanctioned shooting galleries in NYC? I like the idea of sticking addicts in a place where they can continue their habit without causing destruction to anyone but themselves. It costs way too much money to arrest, house and "treat" these individuals who will largely continue their habits anyway. Not to mention the quality of life for law abiding citizens, especially in crappy neighborhoods, would improve ten-fold.

I'm guessing the only thing holding this back is the "tough on " attitude required for politics.

Anonymous said...

let's face it: caging animals works.

PCM said...

They're called safe-injection sites and no, there aren't any I know of in NYC.

One problem is the "getting tough" B.S. and the "sending the wrong message" nonsense. The other problem is location. Not in my backyard!