Wollongong's new sobering up centre has accepted its first ‘‘guests’’ with many more expected as the weather warms and revellers head to town to get on the grog.
During the long weekend, police directed three intoxicated men and one intoxicated woman to the Watershed Sobering Up Centre, located in Lowden Square.
It brought the total number of drunks treated at the centre to five after its opening on September 20.
Watershed service manager Anna Bruseker said attendance rates were expected to increase as police and partygoers became more aware of the services the centre offered.
‘‘As with anything new it takes a little bit of time to kick off,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s running smoothly – police are bringing people down to us.’’
Ms Bruseker said the Wollongong centre’s attendance rates had already surpassed those of the state’s other voluntary sobering up centre, located at Randwick.
She said though it was commonly accepted there were more alcohol-related incidents during the warmer months, explanations differed about what caused that increase.
‘‘Whether there are more people out or because it’s warmer and they drink more ... it’s a bit hard to pinpoint exactly,’’ she said.
‘‘If it’s quiet in town, it’s more difficult for people to get into at-risk situations. When you’ve got more people around the potential risk increases, particularly where alcohol and other substances are involved.’’
The Wollongong Sobering Up Centre is a state government-funded initiative designed to free up emergency services that regularly deal with intoxicated people on Friday and Saturday nights.
Beds are two to a room, with different secure sections for men and women.
Qualified nurses attend to the drunks, giving them a tracksuit and a bed to sleep off their hangover.