An unfortunate side-effect of the wonderful holiday season is added consumption of alcohol, increased driving under the influence (DUI) behavior and severely-increased police vigilance.
Over the holiday season, law enforcement agencies arrested dozens of people who they believe drove drunk or under the influence of drugs on in Larimer County, Colorado. As reported in www.coloradoan.com.
Fort Collins Police officers made 20 DUI arrests between Nov. 30 and Dec. 10; 22 DUI arrests between Dec. 11 and 27; and 17 arrests over the New Year’s weekend, Dec. 28 to Jan. 2 Does that seem high to you? I mean 59 DUI arrests in just about one month!
Throughout December, Fort Collins’ neighbor, Loveland Police Department tallied 27 arrests linked with driving under the influence of alcohol and four related to driving under the influence of drugs. On New Year’s Eve, there were nine alcohol-related DUI arrests and one drug-related DUI arrest, followed by a single vehicle crash on the morning of New Year’s day. That too seems awfully high – 36 more DUI in a relatively small town.
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputies made 41 DUI arrests between Dec. 1 and 27 and 15 DUI arrests from Dec. 28 to Jan. 2. Again, we are looking at 56 arrests in one month in a small geographic region.
I know Colorado is very diligent about both arresting and prosecuting Dui behavior. It also is proactive in ordering Colorado alcohol awareness classes to help prevent recidivism.
Does social drinking lead to alcoholism? For some, definitely. For others, not so much. The reason is obvious – some people choose to increase their drinking to the point it becomes a problem – alcoholism.
Alcohol-related health issues among baby boomers are on the rise. Daily drinking can start off as a social event but turn into dependency, addiction experts say. So when does social drinking become alcoholism? As reported in www.bbc.co.uk.
In the United Kingdom it is estimated that almost one on ten men have drinking problems and slightly more than 3 in 10 women.
But it is the functioning alcoholic that can slip under the radar - before their health issues are severe enough to need treatment. A typical functioning alcoholic can manage to hold down a job despite having a very severe drinking problem that they have been incubating over a very long period.
Alcohol problems are difficult to understand because they do not occur overnight. They are hidden from view which makes functioning alcoholics a group we cannot easily help.
The majority of people who have alcohol-related health problems are middle-aged, which is a consequence of chronic alcohol misuse - many years of frequent heavy drinking, rather than binge drinking - a session of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a small space of time.
What is necessary are more alcohol classes and treatment for those who have drinking problems. Through alcohol education and rehabilitation people are able to get control of their addiction and get their lives back on track.
When a United States Senator gets arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) it is noteworthy. When he is a member of the Mormon Church, it is even more note-worthy. When his last name is “Crapo” it becomes memorable.
Please do not take this the wrong way – I certainly do not condone drinking and driving and I have nothing against the Mormon Church. As reported in www.cbsnews.com.
On the positive side, it is nice to see an offender stand up and take responsibility for his actions. Sen. Mike Crapo, a Republican from Idaho, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence today in Virginia. He was sentenced to 180 days, all of them suspended.
In addition to his fines and court fees, Crapo also was ordered to take a DUI course.
Crapo, a Mormon who has said he does not drink alcohol, was arrested on December 23 in Alexandria, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. His blood alcohol was recorded at 0.14 after he was brought to jail, well above the national legal limit of 0.08.
Crapo admitted he was drinking vodka with tonic water, denying it had been straight vodka. He made a very poor decision - to take a drive to "try to wind down," eventually turned around to head home, and was pulled over by police on his way home. He also admitted to drinking at home on other occasions.
I am glad to see he will be taking an alcohol class. I am certain the alcohol class, combined with his faith will keep Crapo on the straight and narrow
Does it seem like more people are getting DUIs to you? As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I can tell you more people are being mandated to take Colorado DUI classes as a result of DUI behavior. This is true across the nation.
In the hamlet of Pagosa Springs, Colorado more than 50 motorists suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) were caught by local law enforcement officers in 2012 — more than double the number caught in 2011. As reported in www.pagosasun.com.
From 23 DUI arrests in 2011 and nine in 2010, the huge jump to 51 in 2012 is reflective of society as a whole.
Is it because there are more people driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs? Or is it because law enforcement has stepped up its game?
Regardless of the reason behind the surge in Dui arrests, I feel it certainly makes our roads safer. I believe DUI enforcement is a deterrent for Dui behavior. What do you think?
Officials in Pagosa Springs attribute the increase of DUI stops over the past few years to having newer officers who are now more trained, up to speed, and more able to make the stops, as well as to obtaining continued grant funding that helps with the effort. How could officers two years ago not be able to make a DUI stop?
One thing that has made a difference is the grant that provides overtime pay for officers to perform DUI patrols.
Also potentially helping to rejuvenate efforts to catch DUI drivers is new equipment slated to arrive this spring. Have you heard about the new intoxilyzer machine? Not info out on the unit yet, but the cost is more than $10,000.
Overall in Colorado more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI and over 150 people are killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes each year in Colorado. Colorado also mandates alcohol classes for DUI offenders which I am certain limits recidivism.
It is hard to say that a story involving Washington driving under the influence (DUI) is funny. Nevertheless I have to admit to cracking a smile about the story of the most recent US lawmaker arrested for bad behavior.
The reason for my smile is the name of the senator in question. Of course it is not his first name, Michael that made me smile, in fact it saddens me a little since, of course that is my first name. His last name still makes me smile – Crapo! As reported in www.seattlepi.com.
Michael Crapo is a three-term senator from Idaho. The uber-conservative politician even claims to be a teetotaler in following with the beliefs of his Mormon faith.
Now, the senator who has said he doesn't drink because of his Mormon faith has been charged with drunken driving.
Crapo has a reputation as a social and fiscal conservative. He registered a blood alcohol content of .11 percent after police pulled his car over in this suburb south of Washington, D.C. Hard to blame cough syrup for that!
The 61-year-old Crapo was very apologetic after the incident. I appreciate that he admitted his mistake, apologized for it and vows to face the punishment. I will follow Crapo’s story.
Take a moment to assess your own drinking behavior? How often do you drink socially? How much do you drink? This is the fourth in a series of blogs examining social drinking.
Let’s begin by all asking ourselves if we have a drinking problem? For myself, I will answer in the affirmative. I am a recovering alcoholic. As the director for both in-class and online alcohol classes I discuss social drinking habits with my students during each session. It is surprising how much alcohol people can drink and still be completely positive they do not have a drinking problem.
Cliff is a former student who received his first DUI as a teenager and his second on his 65th birthday. It was this second infraction that netted Cliff an alcohol class. Like most of my students, Cliff drinks often but is not an alcoholic; nor does he have a drinking problem. I will let you decide for yourself?
Cliff is a retired metal worker who spends his days tinkering around his garage and volunteering for maintenance jobs at his church. Cliff likes a little whiskey in his coffee in the morning, but just one or two little pours per cup. He has a few cups each morning.
This happens every day. Do I need to continue with the other alcohol he consumes, because let me assure you, this is a small sampling of his daily booze intake?
I invite each of you to look inward at your drinking habits. Do you have a problem? Should you take an alcohol class?
This is the third in a series of blogs examining the nature of social drinking. Most specifically, we are exploring the role of social drinking on subsequent drinking problems.
If you missed the previous two entries, I encourage you to go back and read them before moving on with today’s writing. Following is the story of one of my former students who called herself “Party Girl” when introducing herself to the class. “Party Girl”, who we will refer to as Emma, insisted that she did not have a drinking problem. After reading her tale, you decide for yourself.
Emma is a 28-year-old legal secretary. She is originally from Canterbury, England, is single and enjoys social drinking.
For Emma, social drinking is going out with friends or getting together with others four or five times per week. Sure they drink at each gathering, but sometimes it’s just a few glasses of wine or a couple of margaritas. It is not like they get totally hammered every time.
Are you starting to see a problem here? Emma has been drinking four or five times per week for almost a decade. She admits to getting drunk maybe once a week. When questioned further she admitted that maybe three or five drinks at a time.
She was startled to learn in her 8 hour alcohol awareness class that all of those were binge drinking episodes. Would you say a person who engaged in binge drinking three or more times per week for 10 years would have a drinking problem? Emma sure didn’t think so. I welcome your thoughts? Care to relate your drinking patterns for us all to assess?
All alcoholics start as social drinkers. How do I know? Besides logic, I was a social drinker who became an alcoholic. Now, as a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I see first-hand how social drinking is the gateway for everyone who eventually develops a drinking problem.
The million-dollar question is when does social drinking turn into a personal drinking problem?
As a recovering alcoholic I can tell you from personal experience that alcoholism snuck up on me. I was going along just fine never realizing the increase in my alcohol intake until it was a serious problem. Despite what you might think, I was not in denial for very long. I just never considered that my social drinking meant I had a drinking problem.
This is the second in a series of blogs examining the nature of social drinking. We will use real-life experience, from my own drinking as well as those of some of my former students.
The overall theme of these blogs will be to expose social drinking as the path toward alcoholism.
If you or someone you care about, or drink with socially, may have a drinking problem, I encourage you to seek help as soon as possible. An alcohol class is a good place to start. If you prefer anonymity, there are online alcohol classes too. Please click here to find out more.
Would a 16 hour alcohol awareness class have prevented me from becoming an alcoholic? By that I mean, had I taken an alcohol class when I was in my teens and 20s would I have become a social drinker or a teetotaler rather than a stumbling drunk?
Now, as a recovering alcoholic, and a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes, I can assure you that not one of my students ever went from never having consumed alcohol to an immediately alcoholic right away. The only person I know real or fictional that happened to was Homer J. Simpson.
No we all start off as social drinkers. Most will remain social drinkers who consume alcohol responsibly. The 10%-20% who will develop a drinking problem, none ever start out thinking they would become part of the statistic. Heck, they were only doing what everyone else was doing, right?
Would it have made a difference that while the amount I was drinking increased on the social level that I took an alcohol class to assess that my drinking pattern was trending toward trouble? I would like to think it would. I often say if I knew then what I know now. If I could start over I would choose never drinking at all.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, an article in the Daily Mail caught my attention. I have to admit that it was not just the subject matter – young, British, professional women tarting it up and getting roaringly drunk quite often – but the photos accompanying the article.
Either way, it is interesting to note that there appears to be serious binge drinking on the part of British professional women. My grandmother would be shocked by this behavior. I remember stories from her discussing growing up in London in the 1930s and 40s. The women who had professional jobs were proud of themselves and walked with wanting to be respected.
My first thought is that today’s women are night-and-day different from those of my Granny’s era. Yet, upon deeper reflection, the actions and motivations remain the same. Today’s British professional women too are proud of who they are. Like Granny, they get dolled up to go out on the town. They just show a lot more skin.
Like Granny, today’s professional women want to be respected as well. They just dress much more liberally.
This was the second in a series of blogs looking at the drinking habits, perhaps the drinking problem, of today’s British professional women.