Managed alcohol programs (MAPs) are an evidence-based harm reduction intervention for individuals with severe AUD who face significant additional barriers, such as homelessness, poverty, stigma within the health care system and previous trauma. For these individuals, the traditional health care system and interventions such as medications and counselling are usually not feasible options.
A MAP provides a measured amount of alcohol to these individuals at timed intervals throughout the day, paired with:
- Regular assessments for intoxication
- Psychosocial supports
MAPs are often provided within low-barrier housing, and other services are available, such as food, primary health care and a range of additional community-based services. This regular provision of alcohol allows the client to:
- Reduce their consumption
- Prevent deadly symptoms of withdrawal
- Access an alternative to non-beverage alcohol consumption
It also allows the patient to stabilize in their daily life and access the support they need to improve their quality of life.
These programs exist in many Canadian provinces and were expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to support this population when access to services and access to alcohol was substantially reduced. The Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR) has compiled a list of existing MAPs in Canada here.