Rhonda Parker

Rhonda Parker


    The urgent need for sobering up centre services to be addressed by State Government

    18/11/1999 9:55 AM


    The urgent need for sobering up centre services to accommodate youth and people who were intoxicated due to drugs other than alcohol is to be addressed by the State Government.

    The Government has also made a commitment to increase the number of sobering up centre services throughout the State, and will establish three new centres at Midland, Geraldton and Wyndham over the next two years.

    The Minister Responsible for WA Drug Abuse Strategy, Rhonda Parker said the plans were part of the Together Against Drugs action plan for 1999 – 2001.

    Mrs Parker said the Government would extend the services of the 10 existing centres to accommodate youth and others who were intoxicated due to drugs other than alcohol.

    The project would begin with the Kalgoorlie centre, and it was intended that all centres would provide linkages to continuing treatment.

    “There is no doubt that sobering up centre services have provided a number of identifiable financial and social benefits for communities in which they have been established and these expansion plans will clearly provide added value,” Mrs Parker said.

    “Addressing the plight of young people affected by drugs other than alcohol and who are found at risk in public places, demonstrates the State Government’s commitment to support individuals, families and communities working Together Against Drugs.

    “While it is difficult to readily quantify the gains of sobering up centres, our statistics demonstrate that there are big reductions in police time and resources previously involved in detaining and monitoring intoxicated people in police lock-ups.

    “There is also reduced use of court time and resources, reduced levels of domestic violence and other problems and a reduced burden on the health system as a result of less people being hospitalised for illnesses and accidents.”

    The Minister said the first sobering up centre was opened in Perth in 1990, and since then, others had progressively opened in high priority areas, including Port Hedland, Halls Creek, Roebourne, Fitzroy Crossing, Kalgoorlie, Wiluna, Kununurra, Derby and Broome.

    The State Government’s WA Drug Abuse Strategy Office and previously the Health Department of WA and the Alcohol and Drug Authority, had undertaken the development of the centres. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Commission had contributed some of the capital costs.

    Media contact: Owen Cole 9481 7810


    Sobering up centres provide overnight care to alcohol intoxicated adults found in public places.

    The service involves the provision of a substantial meal, clean bedding and sleepwear, and the laundering of clothes. The short stay aims to break the negative cycle of alcohol or drug induced harm by providing care to intoxicated people most at risk to themselves, their families and their community.

    A State Government review of sobering up services in Western Australia over the period 1990 to 1997 found:
    • the number of detentions of intoxicated persons in police lock ups decreased by 42.2 per cent; and -
    • there were a total of 54,568 admissions to sobering up centres, and 52,688 detentions of intoxicated people in police lock ups in this State.