S.F. program gives homeless people free booze. Here’s why the city says it’s helpful

For a small slice of San Francisco’s homeless population that struggles with severe alcohol addiction, nurses offer treatment not in a pill, but in a shot of vodka or a glass of beer. 

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It may sound counterintuitive, experts say, but it helps keep people off the streets and out of emergency rooms, jails — or the morgue.  

San Francisco set up a “managed alcohol program” four years ago as a way to care for vulnerable homeless people who drank excessive amounts of alcohol and were among the city’s highest users of emergency services. 

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Since its creation, the program, which started out with 10 beds, has served 55 clients, according to officials from the Department of Public Health. The now 20-bed program, which costs about $5 million per year, operates out of a former hotel in the heart of the Tenderloin. Nurses dispense regimented doses of vodka and beer to participants at certain times of day based on care plans. 

Such programs don’t focus on sobriety, experts say, but rather on improving participants’ overall health while decreasing hospital stays and calls to police.

But the city’s efforts came under scrutiny this week, after the chair of the board of a local nonprofit that pushes abstinence shared posts on social media accusing the city of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a program that gives booze to homeless people struggling with alcohol addiction.

Adam Nathan, the CEO of an AI company and chair of the Salvation Army San Francisco’s advisory board, said on X that “providing free drugs to drug addicts doesn’t solve their problems. It just stretches them out. Where’s the recovery in all of this?” 

Click here to read the full article in SF Chronicle

Comments

  1. Nonsense.

    Further endangers their health and addictions.

    In fact, this is a criminal act.

  2. Absolutely give alcoholics free booze and use our tax dollars to pay for it. Experts, not.

  3. 4 years, $20 million spent, served alcohol to 55 total people. Democrats in action.

  4. Rico Lagattuta says

    After 4 years of the program the city should know if there are any positive results or is this just a program to create taxpayer paying jobs for city cronies? Read “Personal Opinions of One Common Man” due out soon on Amazon.

  5. Stuck on stupid!! Giving free booze to people with a problem! How about just pouring gasoline on a fire! Do these people even have any common sense?? How about a brain?? If breathing wasn’t automatic they would be dead! And we’re paying for it?? How is it any normal person votes for this party??

  6. Tanstaafl says

    What was the written goal of the spending?

    What was the cost per client served?

    And, even more importantly —
    What was the definition of success?
    And how many of the 55 were successful ?

  7. Through most of the 1800’s the cowboys knew better than to give booze to the indians!!! Apparently, according to our modern, so-called ‘experts’, we’ve come a long way, baby….NOT!! We’ve only gone full circle. These communist fascist racist satanic ‘progressive’ imbecile democrats have put us back 200 years. Democrats fix problems they cause with MORE problems………and they like throwing enormous amounts of money we don’t have, at problems that don’t exist, for solutions that don’t work!!! Prove me WRONG!!!

  8. Barbara D says

    Who needs comedy when you read about Cali politics!!

  9. Leo of Sacramento says

    20 Million, spent over 4 years……………only 55 people helped, I presume, during the same period.
    That’s about 364 THOUSAND per person, to do ………..what?
    Criminal. You may have sent them to a Camp and experimented on them under these conditions.

    WTF!!!!!!!!!!

    THIS, is education at it’s finest? This, is an example of Political Know it all??? What idiot came up with THIS idea?! AND which idiot, passed it?

    30 BILLION spent on a problem, that keeps growing. 30 % of the Homeless population within the United State of America, is in California. Don’t know where the money went? To stupid ideas as these, and of course, they HAD to highlight San Francisco. smh. Unreal.

    I want to run for Gov, and will…………after THIS report, my dilemma is now: IS it really worth it?
    Simple answer: YES IT IS! Exactly to STOP this madness, if nothing else. To IMPEDE these type of policies, if nothing else.

    We need to make changes, but THIS isn’t progress, helping nor reducing the problem. Oh sure, a few people get rich and get pay checks, but that’s about it.

    Leo Naranjo IV for California State Governor 2026.
    Read the article, THAT is one reason of why I am running.

    God Save us is BS like this is allowed to continue.

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