A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 800-580-9104 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Montana needs alcohol culture change

Montana’s culture of drinking and driving isn’t going to change overnight, but with enough clear-eyed determination and statewide support, we can get started down the road that will lead us there.

By now it should be apparent to every resident that Montana needs to change its relationship with alcohol. Incredibly, there are still a lot of folks out there who think it’s OK to drink too much and then drive home. They simply don’t see that by doing so, they are risking not only their own lives, but the lives of everyone who shares the road.

However, that gamble is becoming ever more difficult to ignore. Nearly every Montanan has been personally affected by drunken driving, and those few who haven’t cannot miss the news reports tallying the multiple DUIs and drunken driving deaths in the state. They can’t miss the fact that Montana has more drunken driving deaths per mile of road driven than any other state.

An Oct. 18 story by Missoulian reporter Michael Jamison on the state’s drink-and-drive heritage showed just how pervasive the problem is by examining the way it has touched the lives of many people tied to a single incident. In late August, a boat driven by state Sen. Greg Barkus crashed into the rocky shore ringing Flathead Lake, injuring all five aboard – Barkus and his wife, Kathy; Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg; Rehberg’s state director, Dustin Frost; and Rehberg’s deputy chief of staff Kristin Smith.

Barkus was subsequently charged with criminal endangerment and negligent vehicular assault, with prosecutors saying – and his defense attorney challenging – that his blood-alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit.

But the story didn’t end there. It also noted that Barkus had been arrested for DUI previously, as had his defense attorney and the prosecutor’s deputy attorney – and that the DUI arrest of Barkus’ defense attorney was dismissed after the arresting officer was killed by a drunken driver. And it went on to highlight the large number of people from all walks of life who have logged DUIs, from county commissioners and judges to probation officers and bus drivers.

It’s no wonder so many young people grow up thinking that driving under the influence is no big deal. That has got to change, and it’s a change we can begin making now.

Efforts are already under way, through a new interim legislative committee looking at potential changes to the state’s DUI laws. This panel appears poised to recommend real legislative changes that promise to have a real impact on Montana’s DUI rates. Many of them are reasonable, evidence-based solutions offered by the Montana Community Change Project, which has been studying programs that work in other communities and states.

Those ideas include, for instance, the use of interlock devices that require drivers convicted of DUI to pass a breath test before they can start their cars. Right now, judges in Montana can require the use of such devices, but it’s left up to the judge’s discretion – and it appears few of them are choosing to make them part of DUI sentencing. Another legislative change could make it illegal for anyone to loan a car to a DUI offender, or stamping DUI alerts on driver’s licenses.

Judges should be able to use discretion when handing down sentences, certainly, but this discretion should be balanced with more standardized sentences so that people have a good idea what to expect should they be caught drinking and driving. A mere slap on the wrist in the form of a fine sends the wrong message to first-time DUI offenders.

And when its comes to sending messages, every Montanan can have a hand in making it clear that driving while drunk is not just illegal, it’s unacceptable. That there are always ways to get home other than by driving drunk. That too many lives have been lost and too many families devastated for Montana’s drunken driving culture to continue.

It’s time for Montana to choose a new road.

source: Missoulian

More Treatment & Detox Articles

Anti-binge laws help slow drunken violence

Police say alcohol-fuelled violence is on the decline in bars and on city streets after the province introduced new liquor rules to discourage binge drinking. Provincial legislation launched last August prohibits happy hour specials after 8p.m., requires bars and pubs to charge a minimum drink price and forbids patrons from having more than two drinks….

Continue reading

Tips for staying sober on New Years

New Year’s Eve celebrations can be synonymous with alcohol-fueled excess, or at least a champagne toast. But for those struggling with alcoholism, it’s a high-risk situation. Bradford Health Services Addiction Treatment administrator Timothy Robinson and community representative Amanda Lewis suggest techniques for staying sober and socially comfortable at a party where alcohol is served. HOW….

Continue reading

Drink Less Alcohol

The desire to drink more than we would like to is an emotional habit. A lot of people think that they are alcoholics, but they’re not – they are just stressed and emotional drinkers. There is nothing wrong with them. They have got themselves into a bit of a bad habit; a bad habit that….

Continue reading

Watch elders' alcohol habits

Fa-la-la! ‘Tis the holiday season, and there’s Nanna getting into the eggnog and batting her eyes. Or Pops, with a face as red as Santa Claus refilling his glass, laughing a little too much. Nice that the old folks are having such a good time! They’ve worked hard for so many years. Now they can….

Continue reading