Dr. Howard Shaffer, one of the two researchers responsible for the CARS study, was kind enough to share his thoughts on the briefings:
On Tuesday, Dr. Sarah Nelson and I left our offices at the Division on Addictions and traveled to Capitol Hill to brief Congressional staff and Federal Agency personnel about our Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS) program. During our teaching day in Washington DC, we spoke to more than 100 people about this innovative assessment program. It was an easy task to teach people about CARS because we believe that this project will change the way our nation and the world deals with repeat DUI offenders.
Our research shows that almost all of repeat DWI offenders evidence alcohol or other drug abuse or dependence. Perhaps surprising to some is that the majority of these people also have a variety of underlying mental health issues that often precede addiction. Currently, DUI treatment programs often lack staff with expertise in identifying these mental health issues. Consequently, DUI treatment is not optimally matched to the needs of offenders. We believe that, if we can better identify the problems behind the deadly behavior, we can match treatment to these needs for this group of offenders who pose such a deadly risk to others on our nation’s roadways. This four-year CARS project is now underway. Learn more about these presentations and other resources and publications on our website, Division on Addictions.