The Cambridge City Council last night called on the state Human Services Commission and Governor Michael S. Dukakis to investigate solutions to alcoholism, which they described as "America's number one public health problem."
In response to a plea from a local businessman that the city help "those who are unable to help themselves" due to alcoholism. Councilor Saundra Graham--who also represents a part of the City in the State House - volunteered to arrange a meeting between a Cambridge committee, Dukakis, and Phil Johnston, director of human services for the state.
"The scope of the problem is beyond the ability of the local community to solve itself," said Carl F. Barron, president of the Central Square Businessmen's Association.
Barron said he became concerned with the problem because Central Square had become the "home, dining room, and toilet of almost thirty inebriated and homeless people."
Although Barron only requested council help for the Central Square area, the councilors last night said the issue was more complex and widespread.
Councilor Francis H. Duehay '55 said that since the problem reached farther than Cambridge, any solution must include organizing a state-based task force on alcoholism.
Duehay also said that short-range programs would not be enough to solve the "deep-seated" problem. He added that reformed alcoholics also would need psychological counseling and job training.
"Just having a program to get them into clinics is not enough. How do we keep them sober once they're out?", agreed Graham.