Dallas County Has a List of its 100 Drunkest Drunks, and It's Out to Get Them Treatment

Vying for a spot in the top 100.
If you're reading this, chances are you're probably not among Dallas County's "Top 100 Serial Inebriates," the recently compiled list of some of the area's most hopeless alcoholics. These aren't the people who overindulge on a Saturday night and have to sleep it off in the drunk tank. These are the broken souls who drink to live and live to drink and often, a couple or three dozen times per year, wind up in jail as a result.

Okay, so Dallas has a lot of hopeless drunks. But why a list?

"There's just the core of folks who just continually get picked up for public intox," said Ron Stretcher, criminal justice director for Dallas County. Police find them on the street, bring them to the jail, and send them on their way with a ticket, at which point they go right back to drinking. A week or two later, they're back at the jail.

It's clear that the current system isn't working. From a purely monetary standpoint, it's a waste. Picking up drunks and driving them to jail is a waste of police time and resources and, though their time in jail is typically brief, they generally have underlying medical problems that require treatment and make their stays expensive. From a human perspective, it's clear that these people are in desperate need of support they're not getting.

Now, a paradigm shift is underway in Dallas. For years, cities like San Diego have taken an alternative approach to serial inebriates, focusing more on treatment than on punishment. Dallas County, in partnership with the city and a host of nonprofits, is now looking at doing the same. That's where the list comes in. It's an easy way to identify the people most in need of help, the ideal population on which to test the new approach.

Instead of jail, individuals picked up repeatedly for public intoxication will be enrolled in a four- to six-day medically supervised detox program through Homeword Bound. That will be followed by a residential substance abuse program, then a three- to six-month stint in transitional housing. Finally, they will be placed in permanent supportive housing. In the meantime, they will be linked up with Parkland's community health program for basic medical care.

There is still some discussion over how people will wind up in the system, whether of their own free will or through a court order.

"Clearly, our first goal is voluntary compliance," Stretcher said. "One of keys to treatment is people have got to be ready."

The new approach is expected to lessen the strain on taxpayers but isn't free. Psychological services and substance abuse treatment are paid for through a Medicaid-like program, while the city provides permanent supportive housing. One of the partners, Turtle Creek Manor, has a federal grant that will help cover treatment for two or three individuals per month.

Such a program has been successful in San Diego. Stretcher's hoping that success can be replicated here.

My Voice Nation Help

This is nothing. 

I live in L.A. 

We will gladly trade our drunks for yours. 

George Vreeland Hill


We need a list for this? Go down to anywhere west of White Rock Creek, where there are liquor stores and homeless encampments, and send 100 of the first of these "inebriates" that you find on their merry way to Homeward Bound.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

All good and well-meaning.  But, anyone who knows an addict knows that they have to WANT to get help.  No amount of forcing works.


Okay I traced the quote  to Dorothy  Parker .

" I 'd Rather have a Bottle in front of me than a frontal Lobotomy"


Still  fits.




This is pretty progressive, I'm diggin' this. Hopefully these ppl get the help they need.


Jerry Jones will finally get treatment?


Sarcasm? - you decide


what are they doing while drunk that is such a problem?


Oddly they can't seem to be bothered to do anything about all the drunks on McKinney Ave. I guess if you aren't poor then being a drunk and a public nuisance is just part of the local "atmosphere".

ChrisYu topcommenter

howabout just put them on a bus to San Diego.

second sarcasm alert!

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Gee, I thought that the philosophy was that we cannot forcibly treat the mentally ill, the alcoholic and other substance abusers.


After all, isn't this just a lifestyle choice?


PS !!! Sarcasm Alert !!!


 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Wow, I think that Satan's realm needs refueling. You and I agree on something at last. As a (reformed) smoker, I devoutly believe that you are right, an addict has to WANT to quit, before any help or treatment will 'work'.

I quit smoking MANY times, before I finally got to the point where my mind agreed that it was time. I quit cold-turkey and have been smoke free for almost ten years now.

Until the addict can honestly say "I want to quit" and it means something beyond 'I will start quitting tomorrow', any help/assistance is futile.

ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @jmckee3 I think theyd rather arrest the drunk on Mckinney, that guy/gal is more likely to be able to afford and pay the ticket.  these habitual guys probably dont pay, and not only get PI's but have small warrants too.  Its a vicious cycle for them

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @jmelton6414 I have the almost identical smoking history, but I quit 32 years ago, and still have dreams that I'm smoking.

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