Letter: State needs to enforce DUI laws, expand abuse treatment

I agree that we should enforce the DUI laws. But that’s just one side of the picture. We also need to consider substance abuse treatment.

Many drunk drivers are chronic alcoholics who need help to stop drinking. A Department of Corrections report on substance abuse treatment stated, “The need for these services is self-evident but it has also been quantified in a recent, Alaska-specific, research project that determined that around 86 percent of the prison population has substance abuse-related problems. The current programming offered by DOC certainly helps ... but more efforts are needed.” 

For people outside DOC, a staff person at Akeela House writes, the typical wait is, “Without insurance/money, access to treatment is: Outpatient:  2-3 weeks for assessment and then starting treatment.  Residential state funded: 1-3+ months (admissions based on client priorities and acuity).”

This indicates a need for more services. More treatment providers and more ways to access treatment are needed to end drunk driving.

— Cheryl Lovegreen