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Gateway Center Seeking Medical Sobering Operator

First in the state service will provide appropriate medical care to inebriated and intoxicated individuals
April 05, 2024

The Gateway Center has taken another significant step forward with the release of a Request for Proposals seeking an operator for Medical Sobering services.

“This is the state’s first medical sobering center, and a critical harm reduction resource that our community needs,” said Health, Housing, and Homelessness Director Gilbert Ramirez. “We know New Mexico has had long standing challenges with deaths related to substance use, and it has taken a collaboration between the City, County, State, and community members to bring this vital intervention service to fruition. We look forward to selecting an operator and opening the doors.”

Medical sobering is the fourth of five critical services to be offered at the Gateway Center and will provide care and oversight to inebriated or intoxicated individuals whose medical needs do not require an Emergency Room. The 50-bed sobering center will be one of 40 in the country and add a vital resource to Albuquerque’s Continuum of Care for substance use, taking strain off hospitals and emergency departments. Patients can receive care for up to 24 hours with the opportunity to connect to longer term substance use detox and treatment at the Bernalillo County CARE campus, the on-site Turquoise Lodge Hospital, or with other providers in the Albuquerque area. Estimates suggest that Gateway’s sobering center could see more than 17,000 patients annually who would otherwise seek care in an Emergency Room.

 “For years our providers at Albuquerque Fire Rescue have discussed the critical need in our systems of care for a Medical Sobering Center.” said AFR Chief Emily Jaramillo. “We are hopeful about the announcement of the RFP and this much needed resource becoming a reality for not only Fire and EMS, but also the patients and their families that we are serving in the community.”

The City is seeking a non-profit or governmental organization to bid on the operations of the sobering center, setting it up to open when construction concludes this fall. Proposals will be accepted until April 19, 2024. The RFP is available for viewing and submission at

The Gateway Center is currently providing overnight shelter and housing navigation services to adults experiencing homelessness. Additional overnight beds as well as a medical respite facility for unhoused patients recuperating from illness and injury are under construction now.