Is a Free Happy Hour Actually Good for Some Alcoholics?

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The Doctors are joined by Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, medical director of Ottawa Inner City Health, to discuss a new and headline-making approach to battling alcohol addiction.

The program, which offers a home to homeless alcoholics, also has a free happy hour -- with alcohol -- and it's causing some controversy.

Watch: Champagne Party for 13-Year-Old?

Dr. Turnbull explains that in order to get people who are battling alcoholism the help they need that they needed to entice them with the offer of free drinks. "We bring them into a community, we bring them support and we progressively reduce the amount of alcohol they get," he says. "Some stop [drinking] some don't, but they all regain their lives."

He goes on to say that while it might be shocking to give alcoholics alcohol, that once people are in the program they are drinking one-ninth of what they were previously drinking on the streets and the program is meant for those in the direst situations.

Watch: Is There a "Healthy" Vodka?

The Doctors are also joined by addiction specialist and psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow, who weighs in on this new approach. "My main concern is, isn't this on some level it's saying it's OK to keep drinking?" he questions, explaining that he would rather see a replacement therapy or abstinence used.

Dr. Turnbull agrees that abstinence would be ideal, but says that the program offers the most extreme alcoholics a way off the streets and the opportunity to become part of a community that includes medical and mental health care. He tells The Doctors that the people in the program are ones who might be going to the emergency room twice a day due to alcohol related issues and not the average person struggling alcohol.  

How do you feel about this new approach to helping those with extreme cases of alcoholism? See more from Dr. Turnbull and Dr. Down in the video below about the challenges in treating this often deadly addiction.

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