: News

Alexandria Grapples With Public Drunkenness

Play associated audio
While substance-abuse treatment options have been reduced because of budget cuts in Alexandria, treatment services have expanded at the jail.
Michael Pope
While substance-abuse treatment options have been reduced because of budget cuts in Alexandria, treatment services have expanded at the jail.

By Michael Pope

As budget cuts have reduced substance-abuse treatment options, and wait-lists for services have increased, city leaders in Alexandria have responded by expanding treatment services at the jail.

Most of the arrests have come in a Latino neighborhood near the border with Arlington, and the jail-treatment approach doesn't sit well with community organizer Jon Liss, of Tenants and Workers United.

"It's a policing solution to poverty, and people with substance abuse issues," says Liss. "The last I heard alcohol and alcoholism is a disease, not a crime. Yet we are moving people toward the jail."

In the past few months, the jail has added treatment services for Spanish speakers and has increased its capacity from 35 to 57 spaces. Tony Briggs, who oversees the mental-health services at the jail, admits it's not perfect. But he's quick to add that it serves a valuable function.

"Yea, it's reactive," says Briggs. "But If they can't come here and something that's going to change their life, something that's going to give them more coping skills or another option, then we're just sending them back out there."

Without funding for alternative treatment options, the city manager says Alexandria will have to make do with what the jail can provide.

NPR

The Glimmering Sheen Of A Wide World Seen From Inside A Bubble

The teen heroine of Nicola Yoon's debut novel, Everything, Everything, has a disorder that bars her from leaving her house. Still, her world is vast, filled with writings, drawings — and new love.
NPR

Correction: Italians And Celiac Disease

A correction to our story about gluten-free options in Italy, the land of pizza and pasta. Italian children are not routinely tested for celiac disease, as we incorrectly reported.
WAMU 88.5

America's Tolerance For Gun Violence

There are more gun-related deaths in America than in any other industrialized nation. We discuss what makes the U.S. different and why some hold out hope that change is possible.

NPR

China Arrests Nearly 200 Over 'Online Rumors'

The rumors ranged from a man leaping to his death in Beijing over stock losses to highly inflated death tolls in the Tianjin industrial blasts.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.