Skip main navigation

Managed alcohol programs

Managed Alcohol Programs (MAPs) are harm reduction interventions for people with severe alcohol use disorders and who do not have stable housing.
Man drinking alcohol in the street
© CQUniversity 2021

Managed Alcohol Programs (MAPs) are harm reduction interventions for people with severe alcohol use disorders and who do not have stable housing.

In general, these people face significant barriers to accessing even temporary accommodation, and, in some cases, will go without shelter as a consequence of alcohol use (Vallance et al. 2016). Such individuals may also experience acute harms (e.g. alcohol poisoning and seizures), chronic health conditions (e.g. liver disease and cancers), poor mental health, social exclusion vulnerability to assault and injury, and high rates of premature death (Pauly et al., 2018).

MAPs provide individuals with regular dispensed alcohol alongside accommodation, primary care services and social and cultural interventions. Through these provisions, MAPs work to mitigate harms by supporting individuals to change their pattern of alcohol use by spacing drinks over time, having the opportunity to consume alcohol in a safe setting, replacing non-beverage alcohol (e.g. methylated spirits) with beverage alcohol, and providing opportunities for social and cultural reconnection (Pauly et al., 2018).

The first MAPs opened in Toronto in 1997, and quickly spread to many other Canadian cities. MAPs is yet to spread globally, although there is increasing interest from countries like Australia.


Read the following article, A managed alcohol program in Sydney, Australia: acceptability, cost-savings and non-beverage use

Pauly, B., Vallance, K., Wettlaufer, A., Chow, C., Brown, R., Evans, J., … Stockwell, T, (2018). Community managed alcohol programs in Canada: Overview of key dimensions and implementation. Drug & Alcohol Review, 37(S1), S132-S139.
© CQUniversity 2021
This article is from the free online

Understanding Addiction

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education