The Sobering Center in Austin to separate patients by substance used, not gender

The Sobering Center of Austin is located in downtown at 1213 Sabine St. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
The Sobering Center of Austin is located in downtown at 1213 Sabine St. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The Sobering Center of Austin is located in downtown at 1213 Sabine St. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The Sobering Center opened a new dorm in October, which will be used to separate patients based on what substance they used instead of gender, according to the press release.

The Sobering Center, located at 1213 Sabine St. in downtown Austin, is a co-funded operation of the city and county intended to serve as an alternative to jails and emergency rooms for publicly intoxicated individuals.

“Someone using a depressant will likely need things like rest while those using stimulants will have more energy and be looking for ways to engage,” the Oct. 11 press release stated.

The new dorm has couches, bean bags, crafts, television and other activities, according to the release.

"If someone could have intervened at the point that they're clearly a threat to themselves, or to others, and they could be in a space where they could safely sober up and not lose their minds, it would make all the difference,” former Board Member Doug Smith said in the release. “Once the person has stabilized, they’re in a better mental space and you can say, ‘Let's talk about some options for you and the many routes to recovery. There’s not one single way. Let's talk about what the next step would look like for you.'”


Smith said this change is one step toward aligning with the vision of Laura Elmore, the executive director who joined the center in 2020, for a center that plays a larger roll in the community than just functioning as a program that diverts patients from jail and emergency rooms.

“We’ve seen The Sobering Center evolve. I think when all of us [board members] came on the board, we had a present vision like this but we needed to first get the sobering center off the ground,” Smith said.

The Lola Wright foundation provided funding for the updates, per the release.


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