|DUI Treatment Courts|
One of ACA's newest initiatives is DUI Treatment Courts. ACA has partnered with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and the National Commission Against Drunk Driving (NCADD) to promote and establish courts that specifically incorporate alcoholism treatment for drunk driving offenders because ACA recognizes that a significant part of the drunk driving problem is a result of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. And if we do not address the root problem of alcohol abuse and alcoholism as it relates to drunk driving, then we will never solve the problem of drunk driving. The Century Council is another organization which takes a look at the hardcore drunk driver and seeks methods to deter this behavior.
more info on Drunk Driving:|
Alcohol and the Law
Dept. of Public Safety: State Listing
Information About Driving Under the Influence
MADD-Mothers Against Drunk Driving
BADD-Boaters Against Drunk Driving
If you need technical assistance information about starting a DUI treatment court, please contact the National Association of Drug Court Professionals at (703) 706-0576.
If you need more information about the drunk driving problem in the United States, please contact the National Commission Against Drunk Driving at (202) 452-6004.
As part of ACA's continuing efforts to establish DUI treatment courts, ACA publishes the "DUI Court Report" as a part of each issue of Recovery for news and information about DUI treatment courts.
Treatment Courts: Drunk Driving Prevention Through Intervention
Last year, nearly 16,000 people were killed as a result of drunk driving. And over 1 million people were injured. All too often, the tragedies that result from drunk driving come at the hands of a high BAC (blood alcohol content) and/or repeat drunk driving offender. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), a high BAC driver (0.15 or greater) is more than 300 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Almost two-thirds of drunk driving fatalities are caused by drivers with a BAC or .14 or higher. And those drivers with a prior DUI/DWI conviction are a significantly greater risk to cause a drunk driving crash. In fact, one out of eight intoxicated drivers in fatal crashes has had a prior DUI/DWI conviction with the past three years.
What do high BAC and repeat offender drunk drivers have in common? They usually have some sort of drinking problem, i.e., alcohol abuse or alcoholism. These drivers represent the core and most difficult part of the drunk driving problem. The traffic safety community has long recognized this, but traditional means of prevention have had little or no effect.
We know that education programs, license suspension or revocation, and other sanctions do not deter these drivers. And even jail time does not stop them from drinking and driving after they are released from jail (and the sad truth is that even drunk drivers who kill innocent victims spend relatively little or no time in jail).
Why doesn’t education or punishment seem to work? Because the root cause of their drunk driving is their drinking problem. Until that problem is recognized and treated, the vast majority of repeat offense drunk drivers will continue their pattern of drinking and driving, unfortunately all too often with deadly and tragic consequences.
The highly successful drug courts offer a model for dealing with high-BAC and repeat offense drunk driving. What are drug courts? According to the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Drug Courts Program Office: a drug court "is a specially designed court calendar or docket..., the purpose of which is to leverage the coercive power of the criminal justice system: to reduce recidivism and substance abuse among nonviolent adult and juvenile offenders; and to increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation through early, continuous, and intensive judicially supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing, and the use of graduated sanctions and other rehabilitative services."
We can learn from the success of the drug courts and apply the concepts used to address the issue of high BAC and repeat offender drunk driving. How? By making treatment a central and integral part of the solution. We know from experience that treatment-based drug courts work. We know that people can recover from alcoholism and addiction. According to Judge Darrell Stevens in Chico, CA, the results are nothing short of "amazing". It’s time to take this proven concept of addressing drug addiction that incorporates treatment to help people recover, and apply it directly to alcoholism and alcohol abuse as it relates to drunk driving.
We need to understand that alcoholism and alcohol abuse is a significant part of the drunk driving problem. And we need to recognize that treatment works. If we do not treat the problem, then the seemingly endless and deadly circle of drunk driving will not be broken.
Some drug courts already include drunk driving as part of their docket. And NHTSA has funded a DUI treatment court project specifically for repeat offenders in Phoenix, AZ. This is a step in the right direction. But we need a larger and more comprehensive effort to develop and establish DUI treatment courts across the country.
If we’re going to stop the carnage of repeat offender drunk driving, we need to go beyond traditional prevention through education and education. We need to break the pattern of repeated drunk driving before the offender kills or injures an innocent victim. We need to treat the problem. That means using the broad range of available treatment programs, services, and approaches - from the AA 12-step program to inpatient treatment centers to pharmacological treatment such as naltrexone, just to name a few - to deal with the core problem of alcoholism and alcohol abuse as it relates to drunk driving. We need prevention through intervention.
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