Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One of this Assembly's mandate items is to establish a managed alcohol program and a medical detox program by the spring of 2023. We expect that such programming will reduce hospitalizations due to alcohol by 30 percent. This is one of my favourite mandate items. I believe it shows a switch in mentality that this government is ready to put harm reduction at the core of our programs. There was much debate about managed alcohol programs in the last Assembly, but there was little progress on it.
During COVID-19, we saw a number of our service providers take the initial steps to build managed alcohol programs. I think this was largely due to a recognition that people detoxing in the midst of a pandemic and putting a surge on our healthcare system was not necessary, and there was a way to reduce harm. Many of these programs were not managed alcohol programs per se, with the necessary medical supervision. They are a recognition that people going through an alcohol withdrawal is an extremely painful process.
Mr. Speaker, I believe we spend too much time in this Assembly debating how to provide alcohol and debating all of these issues around alcohol, and not enough time focusing on helping our constituents heal. Alcohol is not the cause of addiction; trauma is. We owe it in this Assembly to provide people with the means to heal, and that can look different for every single person. My dream is that, when a person is struggling with alcohol, they show up to their service provider and they are given an option for on-the-land treatment, for medical detox, for a managed alcohol program. If they want to go cold turkey down South, they are given that option. They are given a wide range of tools to use, because everyone's path to sobriety looks different, and we as government owe it to provide them with programming that is non-judgmental and tailored to their needs.
I will have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services to see that we are on track to providing such programming and we can get this work done as soon as possible. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.