24 Jan 2012

Homeless should be allowed to drink in shelters - expert

9:44 am on 24 January 2012

A specialist in alcohol addiction is backing a study which suggests homeless people should be allowed to drink in night shelters.

Research published in the American Journal of Public Health found homeless people who stayed in 'wet' houses cut their alcohol intake in half.

It also found that many homeless people are dependent on alcohol and refuse to stay in shelters with an abstinence policy.

Professor Doug Sellman of the National Addiction Centre says he has read the research and finds it very interesting.

He says people found they no longer had to drink heavily when they had some semblance of normality in the place in which they live.

Wellington Night Shelter head Mike Leon says there was a bid to set up a wet house in 2009, but it fell apart in the face of opposition from the community.