Announcement: Scheduled Opening August 2018

1213 Sabine Street, Austin, Texas 78701

Austin & Travis County Sobering Center

The Sobering Center provides a safe environment for publicly intoxicated individuals to sober up and, when appropriate, initiate recovery.

Photo Credit Courtesy Geoff Duncan of Visit Austin

Photo Credit Courtesy Geoff Duncan of Visit Austin

Welcome to Austin Sobriety Center

The Sobering Center will be located in the building that currently houses the Office of the Medical Examiner of Travis County.

Our Mission

The Sobering Center provides a safe environment for publicly intoxicated individuals to sober up and, when appropriate, initiate recovery.

It aims to enhance public health and public safety by providing an alternative to the emergency room and jail.

Who it’s for?

The Sobering Center is for persons who meet the legal definition of intoxication. Individuals may only be referred and transported to the facility by law enforcement or emergency medical services. It is not a place where friends or family members can bring someone to sober up.

%

ONE TIME USERS

  • College students
  • Convention goers
  • Festival attendees

%

REPEAT USERS

  • People with chronic substance use problems, many of whom are homeless and unemployed
  • People with substance use disorder who have other critical health care needs and mental health diagnoses
Dallas MSA 13.9%
Houston MSA 14.9%
Texas 14.6%
US 14.7%

%

AUSTIN MSA

SOURCE: CENTER FOR HEALTH (CHS) STATISTICS TEXAS BEHAVIORAL RISK FACTOR SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM SURVEY DATA, 2010. AUSTIN, TEXAS: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES

Why We Need It?

In 2012 Austin was named the 5th Drunkest City in the nation. The prevalence of binge drinking amongst Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area adults has been consistently and notably higher than Texas and U.S. binge drinking averages (see chart below), according to Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data.

What is Binge Drinking?

For men, 5 or more drinks consumed on one occasion. For women 4 or more drinks consumed on one occasion.

Binge Drinking Kills…

Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States accounting for an estimated average of 80,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) during 2001—2005. Binge drinking accounted for more than half of the excessive alcohol consumption deaths and two thirds of the YPLL.

Drinking too much contributes to injuries and diseases including…

Unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning) Intentional injuries (e.g., rearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence) Alcohol poisoning; HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases Cardiovascular, liver, diabetes diseases

Drug and alcohol dependence is a serious public health issue

Deteriorates individual’s health Negative quality of life Negative financial impact on the city, county, EMS and law enforcement

How It Helps?

For Individuals:

  • Provides a safe place to sober up
  • Prevents a criminal record for first time offenders
  • Offers Peer counseling
  • Provides referrals for treatment

For City/County services:

  • Frees up police to return to their patrol to handle more serious offenses
  • Reduces crowding in jails and wait time for officers booking other offenders
  • Reduces utilization of Emergency Rooms
  • Saves booking costs: In 2016, there were 2,669 bookings for Public Intoxication for a total cost of $400,350

(BASED ON AN ESTIMATE OF $150 PER BOOKING)

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