At the end of August, the Austin Sobering Center was opened on a trial basis, operating only on the weekends. However, the center is now officially open on a 24 hours a day, seven days a week basis.
According to the center’s executive director, alcohol is considered to be the top public health hazard when it comes to substance abuse. It’s also considered to be a lot more costly than opioids, and it also can kill many more people.
It was also stated that this center has created a nationwide trend, as there are 40 similar centers located across the entire United States.
At the downtown Austin location, it was noted that during the soft opening, a total of 130 individuals were seen, which is three times as many people as other various sobering centers located around the country saw during their first month in operation.
Representatives with the Austin Police Department stated that during the first few weekends, they took nearly 70 people to the center rather than jail. The average drop-off time at the center is estimated at five minutes, as opposed to a few hours at either the local jail or emergency room.
Additionally, police also say that they experienced the number of total public intoxication arrests drop by half this year. In 2017, there were 161, while in 2018, there are only 80.
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