Through its first nine months of operation, the Sobering Center provided services to over 800 individuals. Services include “sleep-off,” assessment of vital signs, monitoring of 12-hour sobering stays and conducting SBIRT* screenings. The facility was initially open Thursday through Monday. Since November it has been open around the clock.
Sobering Center Manager Rusty Tews says the Center has received additional funding to support 24/7 operations. Thanks to the efforts of the Alaska Mental Health Trust and a network of supporters including the Bethel Police Department and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Correctional Center, the Sobering Center received an additional $350,000 for FY2012.
Tews projects that the Center will be fully staffed and training completed by January 1, 2012. “Thanks to the extra efforts of our existing Full Time staff and several dedicated on-call staff, we have been able to open for full time services since November 1.”
The Sobering Center began operating on February 17 of this year. Since then, half of the people served were from Bethel, the other half from surrounding villages. Sixty-six percent were male, 50 percent were under 40 years of age, Tews said.
The YKHC Bethel Sobering Center is a unique concept in Alaska. In collaboration with the Bethel Police Department, the Sobering Center not only provides a safe environment for intoxicated individuals during Alaska’s harsh winter, it also provides a respectful and knowledgeable environment for individuals to begin to come to terms with their alcohol use through the SBIRT* program.
For information about the Sobering Center, call Richard (Rusty) Tews at 907-543-3781.
For information about SBIRT, call 907-543-6724