On board with the Wet House

5 May

I don’t know if this makes me some sort of weirdo social libertarian or whatever, but I absolutely love this idea:

Here, at one of several “wet houses” for chronically alcoholic and homeless men, there is little expectation that he will get sober. Instead, there is a tacit acceptance that tomorrow will most likely be no better than today, and that some people — “unfortunates,” as even the Big Book of A.A. concedes — will drink themselves to death.

And:

“Do you know why we’re allowed to drink here?” a 51-year-old named Vini asks me through slurred speech. Before I can offer an answer, another man — who tells me he has been to treatment 11 times — chimes in. “Because it’s the lesser of two evils,” he says. “We can either be out on the street causing trouble and costing you money, or we can be in here, out of sight and out of mind.”

Cheaper for taxpayers and less crime? Sign me up. (It’s tragic, too, of course. I get that.) This is now my second favorite real-life drug-related policy after the charity in England that sterilizes drug users.

I love both for the same reason: because they are probably the two closest things we’ll have to Hamsterdam in our lifetimes, and Hamsterdam was a great idea, and thus I fully approve of both. Good ideas, humans.

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