cohealth, one of Australia’s leading community health organisations, says it is proud to have been selected by the Victorian Government to deliver a health-based response to public intoxication which includes the operation of a new 20-bed sobering centre in Collingwood integrated with street-based outreach teams and mobile vans across metro Melbourne.
The new sobering service is part of a new health-led response model following the passing of legislation that means it is no longer a crime to be drunk in public.
“This new service represents a fundamental shift in the way that we as a community respond to public drunkenness, and will save lives, improve people’s health and reduce the burden on police and other emergency services,” said Christopher Turner, Deputy Chief Executive.
“A health-based response to public intoxication keeps people safe, avoids unnecessary contact with police, and creates a safer and more supportive environment for vulnerable members of our community.”
cohealth successfully operated a trial of the sobering service in the City of Yarra and will use the same model of care to deliver the expanded services to metropolitan Melbourne.
“During the trial we found a real cross-section of the community needed the service and we’ll carry that learning to the expanded metro-wide program.”
“From disorientated young people who’ve lost their mates late at night to people who’ve had one too many after-work drinks, and people who are homeless and alcohol-affected, our service will be for everyone,” said Mr Turner.
As well as responding to immediate health and safety needs, cohealth says its sobering service will connect people to alcohol and other drug treatment and specialist services should they need them.
“It will be a great comfort to many people to know that if their loved ones are intoxicated in public there will be a team of health workers to respond and make sure they’re safe.”
cohealth says the new service will also have broader benefits by helping to reduce the impact of public drunkenness on the community beyond just those who use it.
The 20-bed sobering centre in Collingwood will incorporate a range of wraparound health and social support services.
“cohealth is honoured to be entrusted with delivering this program and helping to create a safer, healthier, and more compassionate community.”
About cohealth: cohealth is a not-for-profit community health organisation that provides low-cost and free local health and support services including medical, dental, allied health, mental health, aged care and counselling, and many specialist health services across Melbourne’s CBD, northern and western suburbs.
More information: Lanie.Harris@cohealth.org.au or 0418 552 377