Nov 3, 2021 - News
Polk County officials work to open sobering center
A photo of the San Francisco Department of Health Medical Respite and Sobering Center.
The San Francisco Department of Health Medical Respite and Sobering Center in 2017. Photo: Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Polk County leaders want to open a sobering center for people facing addiction in the metro, Angela Connolly, chairperson of the county board of supervisors, told Axios this week.

Why it matters: It's a place for law enforcement to take people for help rather than to an emergency room or jail.

How it works: Sobering centers are designed to integrate social services with physical and mental health assistance.

  • Clients are generally at the centers for less than 24 hours, unlike detoxification centers and sober living houses that can provide longer-term residential settings.

The big picture: Sobering centers have been around for decades.

  • Criminal justice reform advocacy is helping to drive recent interest in the centers, according to the California Health Care Foundation, which is working to expand programs.

What's next: County officials are working with Broadlawns Medical Center and other partners to identify a location and funding sources, Connolly said. Expect updates in coming months.

  • "We are working very hard to make this a reality ASAP," she said.
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