If you’ve been following our Inside Look series, then you know of our comprehensive continuum of care for people with substance use disorders. What many people don’t know is that we also offer several court-ordered sessions that could fall under the category of preventative care. One such program is our Driver Alcohol Education Program.
It is a 16-week educational program for individuals found responsible for their first offense of Operating Under-the-Influence (OUI). Clients are typically referred to us by the courts, though the Registry of Motor Vehicles is also able to refer individuals when they feel it’s necessary.
On average, we have about 15 people actively engaged in the program, which runs once a week for two hours at 7 locations. Each program functions on an open enrollment basis, meaning there is always a mix between new students and students who are farther along in completing the curriculum. This allows classmates to learn from each other, support one another and get a sense of what to expect.
The curriculum covers a wide range of topics from legal issues to the disease of addiction, and how it affects mental health and relationships, to relapse and overdose prevention. Programs are run by clinicians who are passionate about keeping the roads and our citizens safe, while helping combat drug and alcohol addiction.
Coursework regularly includes:
- Drinking, Driving and The Law
- Distracted Driving
- Physical Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs
- Medical Consequences of Addiction
- Problem Solving, Decision Making and Goal Setting
- The Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs on Relationships
- Public Health and Mental Health Issues
- Life Management Skills and Available Community Resources
Our job is to educate people about the dangers of drinking or drugging and driving. Participants learn important information that they may not have known before, such as the science behind blood alcohol levels (BAC) and how that differs depending upon weight and gender.
While not all first-time offenders have an active addiction, many do, and the Driver Alcohol Education program can serve as an introduction to treatment. Should somebody display a need for additional services, we work with them and the courts to access the appropriate level of treatment – whether that be outpatient counseling, medication-assisted treatment or residential treatment at the New England Recovery Center.
When people first come through our doors, they’re scared. That’s natural. They’re unsure what to expect, and many have never faced this issue before. But they almost always leave glad that they came and armed with new skills to help them in the future.
For information on where Driver Alcohol Education classes are held, please click here. If you or a loved one needs help with an addiction today, please call us anytime at (800) 464-9555.