Driving under the influence is considered a crime in all 50 states. Unfortunately, driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime frequently committed in the United States. DUI arrests make up at least a third of substance-related arrests.
Court-mandated treatment is considered the main path of entry into alcoholism treatment for most individuals with a drinking problem. Several issues are considered relevant to the mandated DUI treatment, including:
- DUI events as opportunities for intervention
- Short interventions for offenders outside of the treatment that is mandated
- Cost-effectiveness of the treatment that is mandated
The treatment’s effectiveness will depend to some extent on the offender’s motivation to participate, as some offenders may resist treatment when they feel like their participation is coerced.
For involuntary participants, treatment like motivational enhancement therapy has proven to be cost-effective. However, more research is required to look into impaired driving and multi-drug use and recent technologies that can help effectively monitor DUI offenders.
Different Forms of Mandated Treatment
Court-mandated interventions for DUI offenses can vary in frequency, duration, and intensity. It can range from one or two sessions, or it can be multi-component programs that are implemented over several weeks or even months.
DUI offenders who are mandated to treatment by the courts are often required to participate in various alcoholism treatment programs. Some of the mandated interventions for DUI include:
- Generic alcoholism treatment programs (typically offered in local communities)
- Referral to groups such as Alcoholic Anonymous (AA)
- Education programs
- Presentations by families of victims killed or by injured survivors of DUI-related crashes
- Supervised probation
Assessment, Screening, and Referral
DUI offenders that are mandated to get treatment and intervention are often evaluated for personal problems and circumstances that have to be addressed during the intervention and treatment process.
Screening refers to the less extensive evaluation done to determine the offender’s risk level for impaired driving and the extent of their alcohol problems. Typically, the assessment results will be used to determine the kind of intervention needed and the length and intensity of the chosen treatment.
The primary goal of extensive assessment is to ensure that the most appropriate treatment, and intervention is provided based on the offender’s specific circumstances. The assessment is also included in the intervention process to ensure the offender’s problems are also addressed properly.
In some cases, individuals’ characteristics (i.e., tendency to take risks while driving) and comorbid conditions (i.e., depression) that can result in harmful consequences need to be considered for the treatment to be successful.
Proper screening, assessment, and referral are also needed to ensure the treatment’s best possible outcome.
Effectiveness of Court-Mandated DUI Treatments
An examination of DUI events and crashes over the years indicated that alcohol-specific interventions were way better at minimizing alcohol-related driving and crashes than interventions that are not alcohol specific.
However, some non-specific interventions (i.e., revoking the driver’s license) have also helped reduce all types of crashes because they helped minimize the overall driving exposure.
That said, many believe the best strategy is to combine treatment with licensing action. The stated strategy has been known to help dramatically reduce crashes and impaired driving in general, among offenders that are considered high-risk drivers (even when they are not impaired).
When it comes to DUI treatment, the most effective strategy combines education and treatment. The treatment aspect includes psychotherapy or counseling. Combining said techniques is also considered more effective since offenders have complex and diverse problems. Offering various approaches can help warrant different issues are addressed accordingly.