Drinkers will get help sobering up during Fiesta thanks to SAPD

The San Antonio Police Department and Center for Heath Care Services can help you avoid jail and stay out of trouble if you have too much to drink during Fiesta.

SAN ANTONIO - A night in jail is not how you want your Fiesta celebration to end. Sometimes having too much fun can land you behind bars. But, SAPD and the Center for Health Care Services can keep you out of big trouble this Fiesta season.

Bryan Clark is the assistant medical director at the center's restoration center. He said that the “Sobering Unit” is a place for law enforcement to bring in the citizens of San Antonio who have had too much to drink.

Clark said that the center sees about 500 people each month. The homeless and those battling with addictions are the majority, but not always.

"The Sobering Unit isn't always for people with a drug problem or a drinking problem," he said. "Maybe you get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Police say that their goal is not to arrest a drunk person. Their first priority is to make sure that the individual gets home safe with someone who can drive them. If the person is alone and is a risk to themselves or the public, off to the Sobering Unit they go.

Jail is the last resort and is an option only if the person intoxicated becomes combative.

Clark calls it a jail diversion program, a way to keep people from getting arrested or paying a steep public intoxication fine.

"A blood alcohol level of over 0.08 is considered public intoxication and that's a misdemeanor," Clark noted.

But Fiesta aside, the unit provides a safe haven for those battling serious drug and alcohol abuse. They even provide a free detox center and a 120-day healing period.

The main goal, Clark said, is to identify and help break the vicious cycle of addiction.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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