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Alcoholics' Center Is Said 'Justified'

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on alcoholism and/or related problems...CONTACT

The Washtenaw County Committee on Alcoholism


306 N. Division, Ann Arbor  Phone NO5-0476

POSTER PLEA: This is the poster being distributed to sheriff's deputies publicizing the services offered by the Washtenaw County Committee on Alcoholism.

Alcoholics’ Center Is Said ‘Justified'

A referral center for alcoholics and their families which first opened in Ann Arbor a year ago this month has “justified its existence.”

This is the evaluation of the center by members of the Washtenaw County Committee on Alcoholism. The center was the "brain child” of Municipal Court Judge Francis L. O'Brien, long a worker in the field of alcoholism and the personal problems it creates.

Until the center’s establishment in December, 1961, there was no agency in the county which directed its efforts at the specific handling of alcoholism problems.

Since the center opened 12 months ago in offices donated by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 306 N, Division ST., a total of 81 adults who appeared for help have been interviewed.

Many of them came to the center at the suggestion of Judge O’Brien who encountered them in court cases, others were sent by their clergymen or friends who heard of the center, while still others read advertisements or saw posters telling of the center and appeared on their own.

Persons appearing at the center for the first time are met by a social worker, experienced in the problems alcoholism, who makes out preliminary record. The person applying at the center, if he himself is the alcoholic, is then seen by one of five psychiatrists who volunteer their services, while a spouse or friend of the alcoholic may be talked to by a social worker or doctor about the problem.

The persons asking for help are sometimes referred to the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous, to a private psychiatrist, to the ward at Ypsilanti State Hospital for alcoholic patients, to the local Family Service Agency or to other organizations where treatment is available.

"We don’t pretend to be a treatment center,” one WCCA official points out. “Most alcoholics and their families are afraid and confused. They don’t know where to turn for help but they know they need it. We try to help them take that first big step toward recovery by heading them for the proper agency or medical facility.  We're just a starting point."

To keep the work of the referral center active, literature on alcoholism is available at the N. Division St. offices during business hours Monday through Friday each week and persons may obtain information or an appointment by calling NOrmandy 5-0476. The appointments are kept by physicians and social workers who staff the center one night each week.

Uniformed sheriff’s deputies last week began distributing scores of posters on the referral center, listing its address and phone number and briefly mentioning its purpose.

Membership in the Washtenaw County Committee on Alcoholism is open to all persons in the area who are interested in the problem of alcoholism. The committee meets at noon in the Michigan League on the fourth Thursday of every month.

Richard Cockrell, assistant minister at St. Andrew’s Church, is the current president of the alcoholism committee.