A lot of attention is placed on the dangers of driving under the influence and law enforcement often seems more concerned about enforcing DUI than dealing with the root causes. ABC News reports that a new study found that “most drivers arrested for the first time for driving while intoxicated are also likely to have drug abuse problems or psychiatric disorders”.
This study, which was published in the April issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, looked at 290 cases of first time DUI offenders who were treated at group counseling between 1992 and 1994. They found that 42% of offenders had a lifetime history of drug abuse or dependence and 30% had a history of anxiety or mood disorders such as social phobia or depression. This evidence suggests that more factors may be at play in a DUI other than just bad decision-making.
In addition, the ABC News article states that other scientific studies have found similar results that first time DUI offenders are often found to have drug and psychiatric problems. The study suggests that this information is key in preventing repeat offenses and decreasing the number of DUI accidents. Researchers of the study believe that intervention programs for first time offenders should be put in place with more focus on stopping the pattern of abuse than punishing the offender for their behavior. David Rosenbloom, a professor and director of an organization that promotes drug treatment, Join Together, states:
"The first time someone is arrested is unlikely to be the first time they drove while intoxicated. People arrested for drunk driving have serious problems. The results of this study again demonstrate you really have to treat alcohol, drug and psychiatric conditions together."
If you have been arrested for a first time DUI in Seattle, call our office right away. An experienced defense lawyer may be able to help you build a defense and get you substance abuse treatment or counseling. Call us right now to find out more.