Date of Award

Spring 1983

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Nina Brown

Committee Member

Jack Robinson

Committee Member

Wolgang Pindur

Committee Member

Donald Combs


While cities across the United States are attempting to revitalize their central business districts, the presence of the public inebriate remains one of the most neglected urban problems hampering redevelopment efforts. An evaluation of the implementation of a social detoxification program was conducted to monitor planning, initial staffing, training, building community linkages, impact on the criminal justice system, and changes in clients' working and drinking behavior. Public Drunkenness arrests, and working and drinking behavior were measured at intake, three month and six month follow-up with a sample of clients undergoing detoxification, a comparison group of individuals jailed but not detoxified, and a national comparison group of individuals undergoing detoxification in similar programs. The local detoxification clients exhibited no significant change in arrests for public drunkenness or reduction in drinking days per month. However, the detoxification group made a significant increase in the working days per month and an improvement in living accommodations at six month follow-up. Social detoxification programs can be effective if (1) police utilize detoxification centers, (2) detoxification is perceived as initial care with counseling focusing on assessing appropriateness for alcoholism rehabilitation and, (3) clients are referred to a variety of social service agencies. For those clients not appropriate for treatment, programs may have an effect if intervention addresses housing and employment issues.