There has been no shortage of news stories about Colorado’s felony DUI law. Is it productive? Does it serve as a deterrent to repeat DUI offenders? Are sentencing guidelines fair? State lawmakers are even considering enacting mandatory minimums for felony DUI offenders convicted of their fourth or subsequent lifetime DUI. However, critics of mandatory sentencing believe it fails to address the real problem: alcohol and other drug-related addictions. With such focus on the possibility of using treatment programs to curb repeat drunk driving offenses, especially considering the increase in opioid addiction around the country, some people question the effectiveness of treatment options like 12-step recovery programs in helping individuals struggling with addiction.
12-Step Critics’ Claims
Last year, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation answered the question of whether or not there was a success rate for 12-step programs by referring to a 1992 survey of program participants that indicated the following:
- 35% of 12-step program participants in the United States and Canada were sober for more than five years;
- 34% were sober for between one and five years; and
- 31% were sober for less than one year.
In theory, this represents all members of the program the survey targeted. However, critics claim that the numbers do not reflect individuals that drop out of the program within the first year and does not identify how many individuals sober for under one year had relapsed to that point.
An often-cited 2014 article from The Atlantic looked at numerous 12-step programs that are aimed at treating everything from alcohol addiction to social anxiety disorder. The article points out that most of these programs do not keep official membership records because it threatens the anonymity of participation, which can be a benefit of participating in these types of rehabilitation programs as opposed to residential options that require patient registration. However, it estimates that the most common alcohol treatment programs have over a million members attending regular meetings. More recent numbers of those remaining sober in the program are slightly lower than those reported in 1992, but still claim a high rate of success.
The article, however, points out that statistics only reflect the one out of every 15 people who enters such programs and remains in them over time. This makes the success rates of these 12-step programs fall somewhere between 5% and 10%. In fact, the article points to data that seems to say that only 10% of those who attend meetings continue to do so 90 days after the initial meeting. Whether or not these individuals return to substance abuse is unknown, but it does call into question the ultimate success of these 12-step treatment programs. Experts suggest that working with multiple addiction treatment options can increase the rate of success.
Legal Assistance with DUI-Related Charges
At the end of the day, effective treatment programs depend on the individual. What works for one person may not work for another, and it is important to have a variety of treatment options available for individuals struggling with addiction. However, if you are facing charges for alcohol or drug-related driving offenses, it is important to work with an experienced legal team that focuses their work on clients facing similar charges. This is especially true for repeat offenders, including those potentially facing a felony DUI conviction. If you are facing these types of serious DUI charges, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can learn more about the charges you are facing as well as what options might be available for use in your defense.
Disclaimer: The Tiftickjian Law Firm neither endorses nor opposes any treatment programs aimed at fighting addiction. We recognize that addiction is a serious condition and encourage all those struggling with addiction to work with medical professionals to determine treatment methods appropriate for each individual. For further information on coping with addiction or about addiction treatment programs in your area, please call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
COMMON DUI-RELATED TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
(image courtesy of Michael Mroczek)