A system that prioritizes safety, care, and support for vulnerable populations and communities suffering from harmful substance use and addiction
To support the expansion of and best practices for sobering centers to provide short-term, easy-to-access, and safe environments for recovery of public intoxication.
NSC was founded in 2015 by three medical professionals in search of a solution outside traditional criminal and emergency systems to serve people with harmful substance use. In 2019, the organization incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit and hired its first Executive Director in 2022.
Today, NSC is a nationwide organization with deep local ties and growing momentum, well-positioned to create crucial systems change in how we talk about, address and meet the needs of communities impacted by substance misuse.
NSC provides support to 60+ sobering centers reaching an estimated 121,260 clients annually representing approximately 333,600 visits. The organization offers a forum for national dialogue and provides a platform for providers and stakeholders to engage regarding best practices, policy and programmatic issues. NSC has brought together hundreds of parties through its annual summit, monthly network calls and membership resources. Board members have led dozens of national and regional conference presentations on sobering care.
A Sobering Center is often the front door to recovery and a more stable life for society’s most vulnerable populations, addressing the needs of the here and now and working with community partners for additional services.
It is a safe, supportive, and supervised environment caring for publicly intoxicated individuals until they are sober.
A Sobering Center is Not
Shannon Smith-Bernardin, PhD, RN, CNL
President and Co-founder
School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco
Suzanne Jarvis, MPH
Houston Recovery Center
Queen of Peace Center
St. Louis, MO
Laura Elmore, LMSW-AP
The Sobering Center Austin
Good Samaritan Shelter
Santa Barbara, CA
Arish Narayen, Esq.
DC Department of Behavioral Health
Shauna Goodman, MPA