AUSTIN, Texas – Drunk people will soon have a new place to go instead of jail when picked up by Austin police.
Later this month, a Sobering Center is opening in Travis County to provide a safe place for intoxicated people to sober up and recover. The center will open in the same building as the Travis County Medical Examiner.
The goal is to increase public health while creating an alternate space for drunken people that doesn’t include jail or an emergency room.
Beyond police, family members and friends can also bring someone to the center to sober up.
According to the Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data, Austin ranks above the state for percentage of binge drinkers with 17.3 percent in the city compared to 14.9 percent statewide.
Additionally, center spokespeople said they will reduce the cost of public intoxication.
Average cost of public intoxication:
- Emergency room: $1,400
- EMS transport: $876
- Jail booking transport: $152
- Officer time per booking: $55-$97