San Diego Serial Inebriate Program (SIP)
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How the Serial Inebriate Program works
Photo of a police car The SIP strategy consists of identifying individuals who have been sent to 4-hour sobering services more than four times in a 12-month period.

Those individuals are arrested for public intoxication (section 647(f) of the California Penal Code).

Photo of the San Diego Central Jail building

This is the first door to treatment!

When a guilty verdict is rendered and mandatory custody time imposed, clients are offered alcohol and drug treatment instead of incarceration. There will be negative reporting if the client leaves his/her treatment program before completion of the terms of release from custody. If the client accepts treatment, they are transported by a San Diego Police Department Officer to St. Vincent de Paul Village Family Health Center for their medical and psychiatric evaluation. After their medical visit, they are transported to their intake process at their substance abuse treatment program at Mental Health Systems, Inc., Mid-Coast Recovery Center in San Diego. The County of San Diego Alcohol and Drug Services Division contracts with Mental Health Services, Inc, to provide the clients with substance abuse treatment, case management, City-sponsored housing, and other services to support their treatment, and recovery efforts to help them obtain self-sufficiency. During their 6 months of substance abuse treatment, clients work with their case manager to plan the next stages of recovery, after they move out of the treatment program. Graduates have attained self-sufficiency, employment, housing and a renewal of their lives.

On average, SIP program participants have spent nearly 16 years living on the street. Their primary drug of choice is alcohol followed by methamphetamine and marijuana. The Serial Inebriate Program can serve about 15 to 20 clients at a time. SIP offers hope and a way up from the certainty of death on the streets; it saves the community the very high costs of recurrent use of emergency services, and most importantly, it's the right thing to do for our very ill neighbors on need - it works.