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Medical Needs of the Public Inebriate

Adoption Date:
September 1, 1980

Public Policy Statement on the Medical Needs of the Public Inebriate


**Note: This historical policy statement is available as part of ASAM's Policy Archives, but it is no longer considered current ASAM policy. Please contact ASAM's advocacy staff at advocacy@asam.org for questions related to ASAM's position on this topic.

Recognizing that the public inebriate is often a person suffering from chronic late stage effects of alcoholism such as liver disease, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, hematological, cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders, the effects of trauma and many other health problems, the American Medical Society on Alcoholism supports cooperative public and voluntary efforts to reach this difficult population with needed medical services. Arrangements for such services should be provided wherever the public inebriate interacts with the social system, including jails and police lockups as well as alcoholism treatment and social service agencies. Services should include mental health care for those who suffer from the multiple disability of alcoholism and mental illness. Health care providers should cooperate in efforts to establish appropriate staff community residences and other programs designed to interrupt the progression of alcoholism in this group.

ASAM also supports research into the drinking patterns and problems of the public inebriate, both male and female, into causal mechanisms and approaches to treatment of their alcohol-related illnesses, and into the effectiveness of models of the provision of alcoholism, general health and mental health services to this population.