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Addiction and alcoholism can be fatal in many ways– sudden overdose; long-term, accumulative systemic damage; and involvement in crime gone wrong are only a few. Perhaps the cruelest –because so often others pay a fatal price for the addict/alcoholic’s impairment– is driving while intoxicated (or driving under the influence.)

DUI/DWI are costly problems for everyone. Not only do they take lives and multiply tragedies, but they cost large amounts in tax dollars to prevent, deter, catch offenders, process them through the judicial system, etc. Public perceptions of how we should and shouldn’t treat offenders often result in less than optimal solutions both for the addict/alcoholic and for the victims and the larger society that must pay.

It’s a thorny issue, no question. As treatment providers, we find ourselves dealing with a whole constellation of challenges and opportunities connected with DWI/DUI. As members of society, we have a stake in how our systems– law enforcement, the judicial system, the health care system, etc.– deal with the problem.

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This post belongs to Deterring Drunk Driving