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The goal of intervention is to reduce the risk of harm and decrease problem behaviors that result from continued use of substances. The intent of the intervention is to take action that decreases risk factors related to substance use disorder; enhance protective factors; and provide ongoing services, as appropriate.

The specific goal of each individual client is determined by his or her consumption pattern, the consequences of his or her use, and the setting in which the intervention is delivered.

Intervention techniques vary based on the specific population being served and may be delivered to participants throughout the P-I-T-A continuum. For example, early intervention programs may include a student assistance program that provides assessments of individual students beginning to use drugs and to experience problem behaviors. Intervention may also include case management for chronic public inebriates focused on harm reduction.

  • School intervention – pre-assessment, screening, information/education and referral
  • Mentoring
  • Services Assessment
  • Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment
  • Detoxification
  • Outreach
  • Case Management to facilitate referral to treatment

While Intervention is identified as a distinct category within the continuum, there is overlap between prevention strategies, treatment services and aftercare.

Intervention Services

The Washington Recovery Help Line offers 24-hour emotional support and referrals to local treatment services for residents with substance use, problem gambling, and mental health disorders. Residents can contact the Recovery Help Line toll-free at 1-866-789-1511, or

The Recovery Help Line telephone staff are supervised by state-certified mental health and chemical dependency professionals who ensure callers receive the most effective response.

Toll-Free Statewide: 1-866-789-1511

24-hours, 7 days a week

TEENS: 866-TEENLINK (1-866-833-6546)

Crisis Clinic has the knowledge, experience, and capacity to provide the best possible support and referrals to our citizens, at the lowest cost.  We look forward to this new partnership to provide information and support to those seeking to intervene with friends and family members, and to those who need treatment and recovery services.

Crisis Clinic, located in Seattle, has more than 160 trained volunteers and has provided compassionate and confidential help to thousands of people seeking referrals for recovery and for basic needs. They can communicate with callers in 155 languages through the Tele-interpreter service and with those who have hearing impairments. Each year they help over 190,000 callers.

Crisis Clinic operates Teen Link, a teen-answered help line, each evening between 6 and 10 p.m. Teen Link can be reached at 866-TEENLINK (1-866-833-6546) and Teens who call about substance use, problem gambling or mental health issues when Teen Link is closed will be assisted by Recovery Help Line staff.

Crisis Clinic ( ) was established in 1964 as a non-profit organization, and is one of the oldest crisis lines in the nation. It is certified by the Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) for crisis intervention services, and accredited by CONTACT USA, the national organization that sets best quality practices for crisis lines. The phone number is 866-427-4747 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Crisis Clinic also operates Teen Link, a teen-answered help line, each evening between 6 and 10 p.m. Teen Link can be reached at 866-TEENLINK (1-866-833-6546) and Teens who call about substance use, problem gambling or mental health issues when Teen Link is closed will be assisted by Recovery Help Line staff.

Crisis Clinic ( was established in 1964 as a non-profit organization, and is one of the oldest crisis lines in the nation. It is certified by the Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) for crisis intervention services, and accredited by CONTACT USA, the national organization that sets best quality practices for crisis lines.

Toll-Free Statewide: 866-TEENLINK (1-866-833-6546)

Each evening between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., 7 days a week


The Dutch Shisler Sobering Support Center serves people who are alcoholic and addicted, and who need a safe place to sleep off the effects of alcohol or drugs.

The Sobering Support Center, located in downtown Seattle, is open all day, every day of the year. It is the "front door" through which people can get services. People can move toward a stable living arrangement, can get help with income support, and can begin to develop greater self-care and self-determination.

Population Served

People who are chronically alcoholic and addicted are the Sobering Center's primary focus. These clients are often homeless and have very little control of their lives. They are challenged by the rules in our society. It is hard for them to keep appointments, provide needed documentation, or to stay in touch with case workers. King County has made an active effort to reach out to this vulnerable population for more than twenty years. The Sobering Center is one of the chief means of outreach to this group, jointly funded by King County and the City of Seattle.

More than 1,000 people who are chronically addicted to alcohol/drugs have been identified in King County. About 900 of them are homeless and live on the streets of Seattle. They have a problem finding safe shelter because most homeless shelters will not take people who are intoxicated, due primarily to liability issues and not being equipped to handle their special needs. The Dutch Shisler Sobering Support Center is set up to meet these special needs and point a way out of the street lifestyle.


Services provided by the Sobering Center include:

  • Emergency Services Patrol van transportation to and from the facility
  • Screening for medical problems
  • Shelter for sleeping off the effects of alcohol or other drugs
  • Case management to assist with needed social services.

The Dutch Shisler Sobering Support Center offers a safe a place where people who are alcoholic/addicted can sleep off the effects of alcohol/drugs. The center is clean, dry and warm. People usually stay in the facility for 8 to 14 hours per visit. They can get food and clean clothing if they need them.

The center can have up to 60 people at any one time and serves about 2,000 people a year.

Dutch Shisler Sobering Support Center staff members are trained to know and recognize the common medical problems of homeless people with chronic  alcohol or drug addiction. They give emergency first aid and send people in need of emergency medical care to Harborview Medical Center.

Case Management

People using the center are asked to get involved with case management. Case managers can assist clients with income support, employment, housing, health care, substance abuse treatment, and the development of self-sufficiency skills.

About the Name

The Sobering Support Center is named in honor of the late Dutch Shisler, the first supervisor of the King County Emergency Services Patrol, a long-time King County employee, and an enthusiastic advocate for people who are chronically alcoholic and addicted.

For More Information

Dutch Shisler Sobering Support Center
1930 Boren Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121

To speak to someone about a referral, call (206) 477-6363.

The Emergency Service Patrol (ESP) helps people who are under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Drivers get calls from the 9-1-1 emergency system and patrol in the downtown Seattle area to identify and assist persons in need of help. The drivers do a basic screening of a person's needs and take them to a safe location. Drivers are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Van drivers bring people to helping agencies such as the Dutch Shisler Sobering Support Center, or to hospitals or other health centers if there are medical problems. The drivers take clients who have finished sobering services back into the community.

The ESP patrol area in Seattle is Denny Way on the north, Spokane Street on the south, Broadway to Roy Street on the east, and Elliot Bay on the west. Drivers can go outside of the area in special situations.

People who are addicted can get help for withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs. Detoxification is often the first step toward recovery for those who develop physical dependency

Detoxification from alcohol and other drugs is available in King County. The detoxification center medically supervises the withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs.

The goal of detox is to keep people medically stable and safe during the withdrawal, and then assist people to ongoing treatment and recovery. Individuals are offered the opportunity to be referred to inpatient or outpatient treatment after completing detox.

People usually stay between three to five days, but length of stay varies depending on the substance they have been using, how sick they become when they quit drinking or using, and other factors.  A person may also stay longer if they are waiting to directly enter a treatment program.

King County contracts with Seadrunar, (206) 245-1086 for this service.  Call for information on admission criteria and bed availability.

Intervention service for youth include detoxification and stabilization.

With detoxification services, medical staff provides a safe and temporary environment for youth who have been excessively using alcohol and other drugs. Other services are available to help the youth stay free of drugs and alcohol.

Stabilization services may be provided if a young person does not need medical detoxification but may need to stay up to 14 days while waiting for an inpatient bed. A Juvenile Probation Counselor could also use this option in place of sending a youth to juvenile detention.

Detoxification and Stabilization Services are available to youth who are ages 13 to 17 if they are:

  • using alcohol and other drugs
  • experiencing shaking hands, throwing up, having trouble sitting still or sleeping due to the use of alcohol or other drugs
  • in present danger to harm self or others due to alcohol and other drugs.

Youth either under the age 13 or over age 17 may be served, based on clinical need and availability of appropriate services.

Youth Detoxification/Stabilization facilities in King County

Facilities are available in other counties through Washington State. For more information, go to

Involuntary Commitment is used when a person with a severe drug or alcohol problem will not agree to go to treatment on his or her own.

A person may be committed if he or she is alcoholic or addicted, and at least one of the following reasons exists:

  • The person is in danger of serious harm. The person is gravely disabled by alcohol or drug addiction.
  • The person has threatened to harm another person or has harmed another person.
  • The person may harm another person unless they are committed.

Involuntary commitment can be a difficult process. It may take time to get the person into treatment. The court will decide if treatment is ordered or not, and if the person has to go to treatment even if they do not want to do so. The facts and information given to the court must prove that the person is in need of commitment.

The Process

The process for involuntary commitment next begins when someone refers a person who is alcoholic or addicted. Referrals are looked into by Chemical Dependency Specialists. Their evaluation of the facts and information will determine whether a case to commit the person is possible.

If a case is possible, the Chemical Dependency Specialist will take a statement from the person who referred the alcoholic or addicted person. Next is an outreach to this person who is alcoholic or addicted. This allows the Chemical Dependency Specialist to see the individual in his or her own area, and allows the Chemical Dependency Specialist to get more information.

At this time, the Chemical Dependency Specialist can give the person a chance to go to treatment on his or her own, and can help the person to enter treatment.

If the case goes to a court hearing, the court will look at all the information and the statements of witnesses and the person who is alcoholic or addicted. If there is enough proof for commitment, the court may order commitment for up to 60 days in treatment.

Contact Information

The Chemical Dependency Involuntary Treatment Services office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call (206) 477-6165 for referrals or questions.

For help after 5:00 p.m. or on weekends, call the Alcohol/Drug 24-Hour Help Line at (206) 722-3700.

Needle exchange is a Public Health program approach for people who use drugs intravenously (inject drugs into a vein with a needle). It is an important tool in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne infections among injection drug users, their families and communities.

Locally, the Public Health - Seattle & King County Needle Exchange Program provides outreach to people who use drugs intravenously. This program provides new sterile syringes in a one-for-one exchange for used syringes and then safely disposes of the used syringes. It also provides important infection risk reduction information, helps drug users get needed health care, and can help with entering drug treatment.

Help entering treatment may help include with an application for public assistance, help scheduling a chemical dependency assessment, or a direct referral to a treatment program.

A variety of treatment options may be available. Treatment using the medication methadone is often an important option. For more information contact the Needle Exchange Program, King County programs, or the Opioid Treatment Program Directory.

Also see:

 Center for Disease Control IDU HIV Prevention

This state program works with hospital emergency rooms in six Washington counties - hospitals with some of the busiest emergency rooms in the state. Harborview Medical Center is the King County provider and employs five staff in the program.

Harborview staff watch for patients in the emergency room who might need assistance with drug or alcohol services. They screen for alcohol and other drug use, provide brief counseling and a brief intervention. The patient may get a referral for brief contact with a counselor or a referral to other resources or services.

The program goals are to:

  • Increase the number of emergency room patients with substance abuse problems recognized through screening.
  • Bring brief interventions to patients who test positive for substance use disorders. At Harborview, this usually takes 5-20 minutes.
  • Increase more referrals of people from the emergency room to chemical dependency treatment.
  • Drop future emergency room use and medical costs and reduce criminal action.
  • Decrease injury and death for patients with alcohol and other drug problems.
  • Examine how substance abuse services can include early intervention.
  • Improve the contact between the emergency room and substance abuse treatment and make screenings and interventions for substance use problems a regular routine.

The Family Navigator provides support to parents looking for treatment services for their sons and/or daughters. An experienced advocate will help parents and families walk through the treatment system. In addition, the advocate can also provide skills to assist the parents motivate their child to get the care they need.

For more detail use this link:


A Guide to Accessing Services

Local Community Services Offices (CSO), provide many state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) referrals. Your local CSO can provide you with details about these services and how to apply. The DSHS Web site can help you to:

Do I qualify?

Does your family need help with food, cash assistance, child care, medical benefits or long-term care?

You can use the DSHS on-line Do I qualify? calculator to see if you are eligible. Or click here to see if you are eligible for any federal, state, city or other local benefits.

Where do I get treatment services if I do not qualify for public assistance?

If you do not meet the requirements for public assistance, you may still be able to receive treatment. Many of the mental health and substance abuse treatment programs offer sliding fee scales or may allow you to make payments. Contact the treatment program directly.

Some employers have employee assistance plans that include substance abuse treatment. Ask your employee assistance program.

If you have insurance, your insurance may offer partial coverage. Ask your insurance company.

Contact Us

Phone 206-263-9000

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-0583