VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- An advocacy group in Canada is calling for government funding to provide alcoholics with free alcohol to curb the drinking of hand sanitizer and mouthwash.
The proposal is from Vancouver's Eastside Illicit Drinkers Group for Education, which was formed in July and received a $52,000 grant to research alcohol maintenance programs in British Columbia.
Spokesman Rob Morgan said he is among thousands of alcoholics who buy and drink hand sanitizer stolen from hospitals, and also drink mouthwash or rubbing alcohol, The (Vancouver) Province reported.
Vancouver already has centers where heroin addicts can inject with safe syringes and Morgan said the time has come to give the same protection to alcoholics,
"It would be members-only because once word gets out it is free alcohol everyone that just wants a free drink would show up," he told the newspaper.
Preliminary estimates show it would cost about $350 per month per drinker, but the group maintains that would be cheaper than the costs of emergency medical treatment for people drinking unsafe alcohol.
A proposed drinker's lounge would be stocked with vodka, sherry and high-alcohol beer, Morgan said.