The Arbor Announces 5 Ways to Do SXSW Sober and Safe

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The Arbor Treatment Center (Austin, Texas) announces 5 ways to do SXSW sober and safe in light of the tragic car accident and loss of life this week.

In the aftermath of the tragic SXSW crash leaving 2 dead and 23 injured on Thursday night caused by a suspected drunk driver, The Arbor Treatment Center ( addiction specialists in Austin, Texas, announce 5 ways to do SXSW Sober and Safe and potential long-term solutions. With 183 bands (50 Cent, Toadies, Justin Bieber) and 115 films, party temptations will be off the charts during this final weekend of the Interactive, Music and Film festival.

Ironically, Jimmy Kimmel broadcast a street poll video the night of the accident called “Are You Drunk?” where his team interviewed people on the famous 6th Street in downtown Austin ( All of the people interviewed were either drunk or high. Austin’s top substance abuse problem is alcohol, and binge drinking (5 or more drinks in one sitting) is very tempting during SXSW.

Justin Harvey, CEO and Co-owner of The Arbor, who is in long-term recovery reflected on the SXSW crash, “Once people get to the point where they have so much alcohol in their system, people do crazy things, and so the question is how do you contain this?” Only about 1 in 10 people with addiction involving alcohol or drugs receive any form of treatment (CASAColumbia study, 2012), and this problem needs long-term solutions. In Vale, Colorado, Justin saw buses wait outside of the nightclubs to take people home after bars closed. He added, “Maybe Austin needs to seriously think about free buses? (Despite the fact that this was already proposed and taxi companies pushed back)

Just this week (March 11th), Austin passed a resolution to have a Sobriety Center in Travis County (Austin). This Sobriety Center will allow people who are publicly drunk to sober up and “sleep it off” versus get arrested (this does not include driving while drunk.) These programs have launched successfully in San Antonio and Houston, and should be evaluated nationwide.

To help those attending SXSW (or really any festival), the licensed doctors and therapists at The Arbor recommend these 5 tips that can literally save lives in a crowd.

5 ways to do SXSW Sober and Safety
1. If you are drinking, take the bus home versus drive – It’s almost impossible to get a taxi at SXSW in Austin, but you can almost always find a bus, and they are much cheaper.
2. Keep supportive company – Whether you are in long-term recovery or just there to enjoy the festival, keep sober friends nearby to avoid letting things spin out of control.
3. Dial drunk versus drive – Always dial for help if you’ve had too much to drink and need backup. If you are in sobriety, keep your support group’s contact info handy in case you need assistance.
4. Drink a lot of water – As an alcohol alternative and to stay hydrated, drink a ton of water. Attendees have reported that “it is almost impossible to get a non-alcoholic drink” in Austin during SXSW, but you should be able to ask for a glass of water.
5. Think twice - If you have any discomfort with the idea of going to SXSW, don’t go. And if you are at an event, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, leave.

There is no way to know what was going on with Rashad Charjuan Owens (21-year-old) who drove the car that resulted in 2 deaths, but Justin Harvey added, “The Arbor deals with these types of cases all the time.” He expanded that when people decide to come to treatment, they need to meet the requirement criteria, “which is abuse of a mood alternating substance, experience a negative consequence and continue to use despite negative consequences to family, health or vocation.” Jim Walker, Partner and Co-owner of The Arbor added, “And unfortunately the last thing to go is the job, which is a great way to continue to be in denial.”

Fortunately, the Austin addiction recovery community is one of the strongest in the nation because the state has one of the highest rates of substance abuse. Other drugs typical to Austin are Cocaine, Black tar heroin, Mexican Brown heroin, Meth, marijuana and Ecstasy. And many young adults are drawn to Ecstasy as it is sold in downtown nightclubs and Sixth Street, which the historic street and entertainment district where many SXSW parties are being held.

As addiction specialists who specialize in long-term care, The Arbor provides a 90-day treatment program because sobriety is a “journey, not a destination.” The Arbor and our other systems of care do not encourage those in early sobriety (i.e. first year of sobriety) to attend events where drugs and alcohol are present.

For Press Inquiries contact:
Liz Kelly

About The Arbor:
The Arbor (1-866-290-7703) is a “Dr Phil” service provider, owned and operated by Partners In Recovery, LLC, which runs holistic treatment businesses that provide an entire continuum of care for those struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. The owners (Justin Harvey, Jim Walker and Actress/Philanthropist Eloise DeJoria) have decades of experience in addiction treatment and entertainment. Partners in Recovery LLC operate 7 facilities/programs: 1) The Arbor (IRT, PHP, Detox Services, 90-day in-residence stay followed by 12 months of aftercare services), 2) Anchor West (PHP, Day Treatment, 12 step based treatment facility for chemical dependency and dual disorders with a strong focus on life skills and physical fitness), 3) Hope Harbor Extended Care(IOP, SOP), 4) Hope Harbor Structured Sober Living (high accountability sober living environment), 5) Compass Continuing Care (full range of IOP services, after treatment support services also Experiential Work Shops, Continuing Education Unit (CEU), and events), 6) Beacon Navigation Group (National level extended case management for people in recovery in need of monitoring, mentoring, coaching and accountability), and 7) Family Program (A three and a half day intensive offered monthly).

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