In many states, a person convicted of
drunk driving may have to go through impaired driving school which educates the individual
on the dangers of driving while intoxicated. Often, the impaired driving
school also screens individuals who may have an alcohol or drug dependency
and then the program tries to provide help. But, too often the programs
are not long enough or are unaffordable for people who really need the
assistance. A recent study suggests that many people convicted of DWI
have a long history of risky drinking habits and therefore would benefit
greatly from a program that would genuinely treat their needs.
The lead author of the study says that a drinking and driving conviction
identifies a person at risk. The study undertook and examined interviews
with 700 adults who had been convicted of a drunk driving charge. The
researchers found that almost half of the adults convicted of DWI had
a long history of heavy drinking and that between 20 to 30 percent of
the adults who identified as chronic drinkers met the definitions for
alcohol or drug dependence or definitions for mental health conditions
for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to an interview with Reuters, the study's author said education
programs too often undertreat the underlying problems that lead to a drinking
and driving conviction. Many people convicted of DWI underestimate their
problem and others who want help frequently do not have the money to continue
treatment beyond what is required.
The researcher's study asked participants about their lifetime drinking
patterns. A man's drinking behavior was identified as risky if he
drank five or more drinks in a day or more than 14 drinks per week. A
woman's drinking behavior was identified as risky if she drank more
than seven drinks per week or four or more drinks in a day.
Source: Reuters, "Drunk Drivers Show Risky Lifetime Drinking Habits,"
Amy Norton, June 21, 2012