Herald Sun 24/5/2024 The Collingwood Drunk Tank is still a mess, but this time how it operates.

In the Herald Sun on 24th of May 2024, the reality of Melbourne’s sobering up centres has been exposed for the nonsensical dream created by some faceless government official who, although they may have experienced drunkenness personally, has never had to deal with drunks day in and day out.

It is a pity that the architect/s have not had to confront drunkenness on the streets. the Police is as stupid as the idea that drunks are only taken to the sobering facilities if they agree.

There is probably some relief for police that they don’t have to deal with obnoxious drunks. But it goes against their grain, or duty of care, just to leave them, as the police know the risks that exposes the drunks to.

When we initially heard that the drunks had to consent to be taken to a Sobering facility, we thought this was some joke as we all know drunks are, in their minds, all sober or only slightly affected. The statistics bear this out, with an average of only two people using the facilities in Melbourne per day at an unbelievable cost of $12K per drunk. But outreach workers have assisted 5625 drunks.

It is a classic of fixing a problem that barely exists.

That is hugely embarrassing for the Government because this project only deals with people who are not too drunk.  How the degree of drunkenness is determined is a mystery, and then ambulances are called for those drunks, in part defeating the purposes of the facility, loading the issue back onto emergency services and overcrowded Hospital ER services.

If they are too drunk, what is the sobering facility’s purpose – only for nice, clean drunks?

Like the Injecting Room, that also won’t let anybody in if they are too drug-affected or drunk.

The behaviour of these facilities reeks of discrimination where personal factors determine whether the service is provided, unlike emergency Services, which do not have the luxury to discriminate.

The obvious solution is to scrap the centres and leave the welfare of drunks to outreach workers, saving millions and providing a better outcome for drunks.

The facilities can be repurposed so that people affected by drugs can be housed for a period so professionals can address their health and addiction.

A hiatus in their addiction will go a long way to diverting many away from drug dependence. See https://caainc.org.au/sometimes-there-is-just-a-better-way

The whole issue of the drunks must be rethought, with the test being the drunk’s mental acuity and physical shape, not some other nebulous discriminatory concept.

This must be a priority and not include the architects who dreamt up the absurd program we have been lumbered with.

Given the State’s financial crisis, the money allocated could be diverted to more pressing issues, like our state debt.