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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2006 May;25(3):201-6.

The role of a rural sobering-up centre in managing alcohol-related harm to Aboriginal people in South Australia.

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Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.


There is a paucity of literature on the topic of sobering-up centres (non-custodial safe overnight accommodation for the publicly intoxicated). This paper presents findings of a retrospective longitudinal case study of a sobering-up centre in regional South Australia over the ten years 1991 to 2000. There were 6,486 admissions during this period, 97.1% of which were of Aboriginal people. We collated and analysed primary data including demographic details of admissions and re-admissions, and qualitative and quantitative measures of intoxication. The findings from this case study, considered together with contextual understandings from a wider social study in this region by three of the authors, provide supporting evidence of the important role of sobering-up centres in averting the known harms of a custodial response to public drunkenness, as well as avoiding the potential harm of alcohol-related injury among vulnerable Aboriginal people.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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