Austin City Council takes another step forward to create Sobriety Center

Recommendations for how best to move forward with creating the Austin/Travis County Sobriety Center were approved Oct. 8 by Austin City Council.

Proposed sobriety center slated to make debut in Austin by early 2017A working group of some council members and Travis County Commissioners recommended the sobriety center take over the medical examiner's office at 1213 Sabine St., which will be vacated in 2016, near the University Medical Center Brackenridge. The group also recommend creating a local government corporation to operate the center.

No funding source to help pay for the center was identified.

The current medical examiner's office would likely not be ready to open as a sobriety center until early 2017. UMCB's Emergency Room Director Dr. Christopher Ziebell urged a solution be made available sooner because some publicly intoxicated persons—typically those not taken to jail or released to a responsible adult—are taken to the ER to be cared for until they sober up.

“I’d rather get something done sooner if we can,” Ziebell said in a news release. "Sleeping it off can deprive other patients of that bed."

Temporary structures or tents could serve as a sobriety center on weekends until a more permanent location becomes available, Ziebell said in a news release.