New Alcohol Law or DUI School?

This is the second in a series of blogs looking at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommending that the government lower the legal limit for blood-alcohol concentration from .08 to .05. If this is the first you have heard of this, ask yourself a question – are you for or against lowering the limit?

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol and drug classes I am discussing this very question with my students. Do you think you will be surprised by their reactions?

In my previous minor in possession (MIP) class of 12 students every student was against lowering the BAC to .05. One mother who came to pick up her son and I discussed the issue after class. She too was confounded with the notion. She is only 5-foot-one-inch tall and weighs less than 100 pounds. She would be unable to have one glass of wine at a restaurant and drive home.

Personally, I cannot see this recommendation passing. It was difficult enough to get the BAC reduced from .10 to .08. Our laws, especially on the state level, are becoming more relaxed with respect to the criminality of drugs rather than stricter.

What do you think?

Facebook and Twitter Changing Drunk Driving History

How can that title be possible? Is Facebook that big and powerful? It sure is!

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes and online drug classes I am learning about the most recent trend to warn other drivers about DUI checkpoint locations.

I am sure if the technology was available to me back in my crazy days I would have used it to. Is this sharing of information strong enough to get rid of DUI checkpoints altogether? It certainly is causing police to think outside of the box.

At first, it seems that police were a little bemused by the very idea that people wouldn't want other people to be caught by the police.

Now, however, some police forces have decided to use more sprightly tactics to ensnare those who are unwise enough to imbibe and drive.

Is it possible that big checkpoints may be on the way out?

They're too obvious, take too long to set up and word travels too quickly, as they're so often located on busy roads -- on the shooting-fish-in-barrel principle.

Now, some police forces say they are using roads less traveled and even setting up in the middle of the week in order to catch their quota.

Is informing others on Facebook and Twitter that the police are out in force truly undermining enforcement efforts? Or does it, in fact, show a peculiar form of solidarity that isn't always evident in other aspects of social life? Banding together to fight the system is common, but in this case it is plain wrong.

Not Too Smart to Show Up to DUI School Drunk

If I have said it once, I have said it a million times; alcohol makes people do stupid things. A person who does not drink cannot even conceive of getting behind the wheel of their car if they are remotely affected. They know that any form of inebriation is dangerous when combined with operating a vehicle.

Alcohol is addictive and many who start drinking wind up as alcoholics. The vast majority of alcoholics have no problem drinking and driving. Alcohol has caused them to be able to justify their DUI behavior in their mind. As reported in

Alcohol has trained the brain!

A brain on alcohol decides to do stupid things. Take Linda Jordan for example. She was already facing a DWI charge when she showed up to an alcohol education course intoxicated.

The 57-year-old woman from New York tested positive for alcohol. Instead of taking a class and getting her DUI wiped off the books, she now faces additional charges.

Adding insult to injury – another bad decision - when Jordan tested positive for alcohol and was refused entry, she left the class in her own car, though a cab had been called for her, police said. She was stopped a short time after and charged with DWI.

Dumb, dumb dumb – alcohol makes people dumb.

Can Lower BAC Law Decrease Need for DWI Online Education?

Do you think the legal limit for the amount of alcohol in the blood stream, known as blood-alcohol content, should be reduced? When I was a kid the legal limit was .10. With Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) helping wage a crusade the legal limit was legally changed to .08.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is recommending that the legal limit be lowered to .08. Its claim is that more than 100 countries currently have a standard of .05 or lower. Keep in mind that many of these countries are in the Middle East where alcohol is banned entirely and a DUI violation could result in a death sentence!

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol, drug and DUI classes I am totally against DUI behavior. However, this law may cross a barrier. I am certainly not opposed to responsible drinking.

A BAC of .05 equates to about one drink for a woman of 120 pounds or less and two drinks for a man of 160 pounds.

I will be very interested to follow this recommendation as it moves along. My gut tells me it will fail. We will look at this in future blogs as well.

Online Drug and Alcohol Courses Keep Independence Day Safe

Gaining our independence from England back in 1776 was a big deal. You don’t have to be a jingoist to enjoy celebrating our nation’s independence. Alcohol plays a role in many people’s celebratory activities. The key is to keep yourself and those around you safe.

The best way to keep everyone safe is to make sure you do not operate any motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. This includes cars, motorcycles, airplanes and watercrafts.

Understanding and appreciating the dangers of alcohol and keeping them in mind are instrumental in keeping you safe. A good place to start is with an 8-hopur online alcohol class. Parents, this is especially a good idea if you have teenagers. It might not be a bad idea to take the class with them.

As a counselor for both in-class and online drug and alcohol courses I can assure you that many students take my class after an alcohol-related incident on the 4th of July!

Remember, if you are going to drink alcohol, drink responsibly. Do not overindulge and most certainly do not operate a motor vehicle. If at all possible, make sure someone close to you stays sober and can be a designated driver. Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Online Alcohol Awareness Program Proven Effective, Part V

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I often discuss the Internet as an effective means of instruction with my students. What do you think? Can the Internet teach? My neighbor is an 84-year-old judge who refuses to retire and he insists you can’t “learn a darn thing on a computer.”

Recent studies seem to prove my friend the judge wrong. As reported in

A series of independent research studies has confirmed the effectiveness of online education about alcohol awareness in the United States. In the largest, the researchers found a short-term reduction in harmful behaviors related to drinking among college freshmen at 15 colleges who took an online course. Similar studies at the University of West Florida and Villanova and Roger Williams found similar results.

The NIH-funded study of online alcohol-awareness classes found that they were most effective when more freshmen took the class at the same time, suggesting that peer pressure plays a role — though the results had dissipated by the spring semester, meaning more follow-up was needed.

If you or someone you care about suffers from a problem with alcohol I urge you to seek help immediately. If you prefer to maintain total anonymity an online alcohol class is a good place to start.

Computer Based Alcohol Classes Work, Part IV

This is the fourth in a series of blogs looking at the effectiveness of online education generally, and Internet based alcohol awareness programs specifically. Recent studies have shown that learning about alcohol, drug and even sex using the Internet as the medium, can be more effective than traditional classroom instruction.

Simple video- and animation-based interactive courses in these disciplines turn out to be good ways of teaching subjects you may have giggled through in health class. And they’re increasingly being used all over the world with success now confirmed by peer-reviewed, controlled research. The results are important as online education continues to expand faster than its impact and effectiveness can be fully measured. As reported in

A recent study performed by the University of Toronto concluded that we are seeing significant and large effects on attitudes, knowledge, and also behaviors from online courses in nontraditional subjects.

A few of my students have taken both online and in-class alcohol classes. All three were in their early 20s and all three were female. Would it surprise you to learn that all three preferred the online alcohol class to my classroom version?

In the next blog in this series we will look at studies into the effectiveness of the Internet as a medium for alcohol classes.

Online Alcohol Classes Are Effective, Part III

As this headline suggests, this is the third in a series of blogs addressing the effectiveness of online alcohol classes. With a growing number of people involved in alcohol-related incidents, all with busy lives, online alcohol classes are becoming one of the remediation therapies mandated by the courts for an alcohol-related offense.

One of my most recent students, Jamie, likes to learn at the computer because she can work at her own pace, which is usually faster than her classmates. Her best friend, Kellie, also taking the online class likes the online version because there is no competing for the instructor’s attention she can re-read the material with her questions. As reported in

As interest in online education rages, the question as to the effectiveness of online alcohol classes work is slowly coming to light.

Evidence is mixed about how well online courses teach core subjects such as science, math or reading, with a recent large-scale Columbia study showing disadvantages to online learning for community college students.

But new research shows that, in certain topics, computer-based instruction is not only just as effective as the old-fashioned, in-person kind. It’s more effective.

These topics include sex, drugs and health — subjects in which privacy, personal comfort and customized information are especially important, and embarrassment or cultural taboos can get in the way of classroom teaching. An online alcohol class is the way to go.

Computerized Alcohol Education Classes Work, II

This is the second in a series of blogs looking at the effectiveness of online alcohol courses. So, who takes online alcohol classes?

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I have a pretty good understanding of who takes the class. The vast majority of students already have had an alcohol-related incident and fall into two groups.

The first group has already been mandated to the online alcohol class by the judge. The second group is comprised of those who have an alcohol-related incident and are trying to take the online alcohol class as a measure showing their commitment and good faith, as well as their remorse, before a pending court date.

There are also students who take the online alcohol class because their parents caught them using alcohol and are making them take the class.

There is no doubt that online alcohol classes are effective for these students. However, I propose that all schools implement an 8-hour online alcohol class as part of each school year. This could be done in the computer lab at school or as homework.

The best way to keep a person from suffering multiple alcohol-related incidents, or drug-related incidents, is to continue to educate them to the point they do not choose to experiment with alcohol or other drugs in the first place.

Proof That Online Alcohol Classes Work!

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol and drug education classes I know how valuable these courses are. Now I have further proof to back me up.

In many of my alcohol classes I discuss the value with the students. I will admit that most are there as a “punishment” to try and keep them from making the same mistake. They certainly should not view it as a punishment, yet most do.

If you have ever taken an alcohol class, even an online alcohol class, you the value it has. If you have never taken an alcohol class, perhaps you have taken traffic school. Even if you didn’t want to be there, you know that the class changed the way that you think – at least for a while.

One of the benefits of an online alcohol class is there is no distraction from fellow students or instructors. It is important to take your online class in a quiet room and give yourself a good opportunity to absorb the material.

This is the first in a series of blogs looking at the effectiveness of online alcohol classes. If you or someone you care about has a drinking problem, please seek help as soon as possible. An online alcohol class is a good place to start, especially if you prefer to maintain total anonymity.