On August 23, the Austin-Travis County Sobering Center opened its doors on a limited basis and the demand is already high. "At the end of last weekend we were at 58-ish and this weekend we are already 10 in, that's just since last night. To give you perspective, for Houston, the sobering center the first month, they were open for full 24/7 operations, they saw 53 people," said Patrick.
Before it opened, those severely intoxicated, were likely to go straight to jail, or the hospital.
"Law enforcement, or EMS transports someone who is intoxicated here. They come in, we do a head to toe assessment, make sure they are physically ok. The officer releases them to our care. Once they leave we do a more comprehensive assessment on them," said Patrick.
Along with the high numbers , the sobering center has also begun to deal with some violence.
"We've had to send a couple people out, one for a medical emergency, just for aggression that couldn't be deescalated. We also had one person who became aggressive and hit somebody on our staff," said Patrick. Doctor Patrick says not only does the center save thousands in taxpayer dollars, but it provides needed care beyond these doors. They try to refer them to other services.
"Nobody leaves here just walking down the sidewalk without any kind of plan," said Patrick.
These intake numbers could continue to rise, but Patrick's staff will be ready and waiting. "These are our brothers, sisters, mothers our children. These are people that many in this community care about."
As of now, the center is only open Thursday night through Monday morning.
But it will become 24/7 in October.