Preventing a DUI: Making Smart Choices

Every DUI is Preventable!

It’s vitally important to make smart choices that will keep you safe. Below are some helpful and safe tips to consider.

Decisions Before Drinking

Decisions Before Drinking

The only sure way to prevent a DUI arrest – and the many other costs, monetary and otherwise – is to make the correct choice: NEVER drive if you’ve been drinking.

  • Plan transportation before you go anywhere alcohol will be served.
  • Take turns with friends to be the designated non-drinking driver.
  • Host events at home.
  • Keep cab or public transportation telephone numbers readily available.
  • Stay overnight where the event is being hosted, if possible.

NHTSA’s new SaferRide app allows you to call a taxi or a friend and identify your location so you can be picked up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store.

Choices After Drinking

Choices After Drinking

You can still make smart choices after you begin drinking alcohol.

Tips after you’ve begun to drink alcohol:

  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink; sip slowly and space drinks over time.
  • Eat hearty food before or while drinking; these foods slow down absorption rate in your stomach.
  • Stop drinking alcohol at least 90 minutes prior to driving. Even if you don’t feel intoxicated, you may be over the legal limit.
  • Keep public transportation and taxi numbers handy, and use them if you’ve been drinking.
  • Ask a non-drinking driver to take you home. Call someone to pick you up, if necessary.

NHTSA’s new SaferRide app allows you to call a taxi or a friend and identify your location so you can be picked up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store.

Oklahoma’s Social Host Law

Oklahoma’s Social Host Law

Oklahoma’s Social Host law puts the responsibility for underage drinking on the person providing the location for the gathering. It’s up to you to make sure young people don’t drink in your home or on your property.

If people under 21 are gathered and drinking on private property, the person who provides the location is considered the Social Host, and will be held accountable.

  • A “Social Host” can be a minor or adult and does not have to be physically present or the actual property owner.
  • Social Host violations carry a first-time fine of up to $500.
  • If someone is injured or killed because of a Social Host violation, the host can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $2,500.
  • Fines and penalties increase with additional violations.

Additional information and education materials can be found at www.oklahomasocialhost.com

Parties and Events

Parties and Events

  • Make sure guests who drink alcohol are age 21 or older.
  • Don’t rely on someone’s appearance or behavior to determine if he or she has had too much to drink.
  • Don’t hesitate to stop serving alcohol to someone who has had too much to drink or to slow/pace out service. Be firm.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and encourage guests to alternate. Serve food.
  • Don’t let guests mix their own drinks. Choose a reliable bartender who will monitor consumption and refuse/slow service.
  • Close the bar at least 90 minutes before the party ends.
  • Arrange rides home with non-drinking driver, or call alternative transportation.

 

Know the signs of alcohol poisoning and when to seek medical care:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths a minute)
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Passing out (unconsciousness) and can’t be awakened
It’s not necessary for a person to have all these symptoms before needing medical care. Alcohol poisoning is an emergency. Call 911!

Get the Keys: How You Can Intervene

Get the Keys: How You Can Intervene

Here’s advice on getting the keys away from someone who has been drinking:

  • Tell the person that he/she has had too much to drink and they need to find an alternative way to get home.
  • If you don’t know the person well, speak to his/her friends and ask them to intervene.
  • If you went to the event with this person, do not leave with him/her. Insist that you will call someone else for a ride, take a cab, or walk.
  • If necessary, take the keys away; find a safe ride home or a safe place for the person to stay.

Tips for Parents and Under 21

Tips for Parents and Under 21

Tips for Parents:
      • Keep open lines of communication with your child.
      • Have clear expectations related to alcohol and drug use and follow through with consequences.
      • Know your child’s friends and their parents.
      • Be interested and involved in your child’s life.
      • Ask if your child’s school offers AlcoholEdu or another evidence-based prevention program.
      • View a short presentation for parents for more information and advice on youth alcohol and other drug use.
      • Need a referral for substance abuse treatment or support? Call 2-1-1 or the Reachout Hotline at 1-800-522-9054 for Oklahoma Resources.
      • Learn more about the dangers of underage drinking.

 

Tips for Under 21:
Dealing with Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure is the feeling that someone in your age group is pushing you toward making a certain choice, good or bad. Making smart choices include being able to stand up to peer pressure.

 Tips on How to Avoid Peer Pressure
        • Remember you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
        • Trust your best judgment. It’s okay to say no.
        • Seek out friends who have similar interests, beliefs and values as you.
        • Consider the long-term consequences of your actions.
        • Make wise choices; take part in alcohol- and drug-free events.
        • Talk to an adult you trust.
Be a Good Friend: Encourage Others to Make Wise Choices
      • Offer to be the designated non-drinking driver for your friends.
      • Take a friend’s keys when he/she has had too much to drink.
      • Encourage a friend to say no to drugs.
      • Stop a friend from driving while drunk or drugged. Ask a trusted adult to help.
      • Become involved in an organization that promotes healthy choices such as 2Much2Lose (2M2L) or SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). For more information, contact Terrence Spain at terrence.spain@odmhsas.org or 405-522-2700

Screening for Substance Abuse

Screening for Substance Abuse

Alcohol abuse and dependency create major health problems and result in thousands of deaths per year in the U.S. alone. Alcohol use is also a major cause of injuries, abuse, lost productivity, disease, family and social problems.

One of the first steps in determining if alcohol use is putting someone’s health at risk is screening. The following links are screening tools which can determine healthy, risky, harmful or likely dependent risk levels:

Self Screening for Alcohol-Related Substance Abuse

Alcohol-Related Screening Tools for Prevention Providers:
English
Spanish

For Health Providers:

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a public health evidence-based practice used to identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol and drugs (illicit or misuse of prescription). SBIRT can be used to effectively encourage individuals to reduce or eliminate problematic drug or alcohol use. There are three components of SBIRT.

  • Screening quickly assesses the severity of substance use and identifies the appropriate level of response.
  • Brief intervention focuses on increasing insight and awareness regarding substance use and motivation toward behavioral change.
  • Referral to treatment provides those identified as needing more extensive treatment with access to specialty care.

SBIRT places risky substance use where it belongs—in the realm of healthcare. It focuses on identifying risky substance use to help prevent the onset of the more costly disease of addiction. Similar to preventive screenings for chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and hypertension, SBIRT is an effective tool for identifying risk levels related to substance use and for providing the appropriate intervention.

SBIRTOK is an initiative of the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS). For Information about establishing the evidence based SBIRT protocol in your primary care practice, emergency department or trauma center call 1-877- SBIRTOK (1-877-724-7865) or email.

Resources and help for substance abuse treatment are also available in the state of Oklahoma by going to our Resources page.

Sources: Retrieved from alcoholscreening.org; Thomas F. Babor, John C. Higgins-Biddle, John B. Saunders, Maristela G. Monteiro. Retrieved from http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2001/WHO_MSD_MSB_01.6a.pdf; Thomas F. Babor, John C. Higgins-Biddle, John B. Saunders, Maristela G. Monteiro. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/activities/en/AUDITmanualSpanish.pdf; http://ok.gov/odmhsas/Prevention_in_Practice.html
Sources:
Get The Keys: How You Can Intervene, NHTSA. 18 July 2014.

Personal Prevention Habits

Personal Prevention Habits

Personal prevention is not just for those who have a drinking problem or are addicted, but for those who would like to prevent future health problems. Evidence indicates the risk of harm increases significantly when men consume more than two drinks per day and when women drink more than one drink per day. Drinking more than two drinks per day over an extended period can cause health problems, as well as depression, and an increased chance of alcohol dependence.

Many people can stop or reduce their drinking habits if they decide this is something they would like to do for themselves. Some people may choose to change their habits without help from others. Other people may enlist someone to help (friend, relative or healthcare provider). Whether you work on this yourself or with support, most people who successfully change find that a written plan helps.

Here’s a step-by-step plan outlining a way to help start changing your drinking behaviors:

  • STEP 1: Choose good reasons for cutting down your drinking
  • STEP 2: Determine what situations contribute to your heavy drinking
  • STEP 3: Determine a way to stick to your plan
  • STEP 4: Select healthy activities that hold your interest
  • STEP 5: Put together your master plan

* Step-by-Step Plan Disclaimer: The outlined step-by-step plan is only a support tool to help make healthier choices surrounding alcohol consumption. If you suspect someone you know has an alcohol problem that is affecting their health or mental condition, the best course of action is to have them see a prevention professional. Contact your Regional Prevention Center.

STEP 1: Choose good reasons for cutting down on your drinking

There are a number of benefits to cutting down on your drinking. Choose three from the list below that seem to be the best reasons for you that make you want to cut down on your drinking:

  • I will live longer—between five and ten years
  • I will sleep better
  • I will be happier
  • I will save a lot of money
  • My relationships will improve
  • I will look younger longer
  • I will achieve more in my life
  • There will be a greater chance that I will survive to be a healthy old age
  • I will be better at my job
  • I will find it easier to stay slim, since alcoholic beverages contribute to weight gain
  • I will be less likely to feel depressed and six times less likely to commit suicide
  • I will be less likely to die of heart disease or cancer
  • The possibility that I will die in a fire or by drowning will be greatly reduced
  • Other people will respect me
  • I will be less likely to get into trouble with the police
  • The possibility that I will die of liver disease will be dramatically reduced
  • I will be three times less likely to die in a car accident
  • (men): My sexual performance will probably improve
  • (women): There will be less chance that I will have an unplanned pregnancy
  • (women): There will be less chance that I will damage my unborn child

When you have chosen three good reasons for cutting down on your drinking, write them down on a piece of paper to begin your plan outline and to have a clearer picture in your mind of exactly what you expect to happen if you continue to drink heavily. This will also help you have a clearer picture of your future if you stop drinking or drink at moderate levels.

STEP 2: Determine what situations contribute to your heavy drinking

Your desire to drink probably changes according to your moods, the people you are with and whether or not alcohol is readily available. Think about the last time you drank too much and try to work out what contributed to your drinking. Select four high-risk situations and write them down on your piece of paper. Below are some examples of high-risk situations that may contribute to heavy drinking.

  • Parties
  • Festivals
  • Family
  • Bars
  • Mood
  • After work/end of the workweek
  • Arguments
  • Criticism
  • Feelings of failure
  • Particular people
  • Tension
  • Feeling lonely
  • Dinner parties
  • Boredom
  • Sleeplessness
  • Weekends
  • After receiving paycheck
  • When others are drinking
  • Feeling happy
  • Celebrations
  • Anxiety or nervousness
STEP 3: Determine a way to stick to your plan

The next step involves dealing with your high-risk situations that may make you drink more. Controlling your drinking may not be easy. You may find it helps to have a supportive person go through the following actions with you.

  • ACTION 1: DETERMINE THE CHALLENGE – Choose one of the four high-risk situations you identified in STEP 2.
  • ACTION 2: DO A QUICK BRAINSTORM – Brainstorm different ways of managing the high risk situation you identified in Action 1.
  • ACTION 3: FIND SOLUTIONS– Select two of these ways to deal with your situation.
  • ACTION 4: MOVE ONTO THE NEXT CHALLENGE – Repeat actions one through three until you’ve covered all four high-risk situations you identified in STEP 2.

Here’s an example of a person attempting to manage drinking too much with friends after work:

ACTION 1: DETERMINE THE CHALLENGE
  • Drinking with friends after work.
ACTION 2: DO A QUICK BRAINSTORM
  • Limit the number of days you go out with friends after work
  • Have only two drinks when you go out
  • Switch to non-alcoholic beverages after two drinks
  • Change friends
  • Work later
  • Go home rather than drinking
  • Find another activity

It’s possible that not all ideas from your brainstorm will work. That doesn’t matter. The point is to think of many ideas as you can. Then you can determine which ideas are more likely to work for you.

ACTION 3: FIND SOLUTIONS
Write down two different solutions on your plan outline that will work for you based on your brainstorm. Such as:
  • Limit the number of days you go out with friends after work
  • Switch to non-alcoholic beverages after two drinks
ACTION 4: MOVE ONTO THE NEXT CHALLENGE

Repeat actions one through three until you’ve covered all four high-risk challenges you identified.

STEP 4: Select healthy activities that hold your interest

Many people drink because they are bored. In this step the task includes identifying as many activities as you can that might hold your interest, then select two of them to try, and write them down on your plan outline. Use the following questions to produce this list.

  • What types of things, such as sports, crafts, languages, etc., have you enjoyed learning in the past?
  • What types of trips (to the mountains or the country, etc.) have you enjoyed?
  • What types of things, such as painting, dancing, etc., do you think you could enjoy if you had no worries about failing?
  • What have you enjoyed doing alone (long walks, playing an instrument, sewing)?
  • What have you enjoyed doing with others (talking on the telephone, playing games)?
  • What have you enjoyed doing that doesn’t cost money (playing with your children, going to the library, reading)?
  • What have you enjoyed doing that costs very little?
  • What activities have you enjoyed at different times (different times of the day, on your day off, during the spring or autumn, etc.)?
STEP 5: Put together your master plan

Once you have the tasks from STEPS 1 through 4 on a piece of paper outlining your plan, this will be your master plan to follow for the next two weeks. Go over the plan each day, so you don’t forget about it, especially when you’re faced with tempting situations. Here are some tips that can remind of your plan. It may help to put the following tips on a note card that you can carry with you.

  • Think of an activity that you do several times every day, such as drinking a cup of coffee or washing your hands.
  • Whenever you carry out that activity, very quickly go over your plan in your mind. Think about your reasons for cutting down, high risk situations and ways of coping with them. Also think of your plans for meeting other people and beginning interesting activities.
  • If you have a support person, talk about your plan and progress every day in the beginning and then several times a week as you have success sticking to it.
  • Having a clear, written plan provides an outline for change. Successful change takes place when a person follows through with their plan and action steps.

Tips to consider

  • Many people drink because they are depressed, which is characterized by feelings of sadness, loss of interested in activities and decreased energy. If you think you’ve been depressed for two weeks or more, please contact your health provider. Treatment does help.
  • Remember that every time you are tempted to drink too much and are able to resist, you are changing your habit.
  • Whenever you feel very uncomfortable, distressed or miserable, keep telling yourself that it will pass. If you crave a drink, try pretending that the craving is like a sore throat that you have to put up with until it goes away. If you find these feelings persist or you are unable to manage these feeling, contact your health provider.
  • If you have a support person, tell that person honestly how much you had to drink each day and when you have been successful or have drunk too much.
  • It is likely that you will have some hard days on which you drink too much. When that happens, don’t give up. Remember that people who have learned to drink at moderate levels had many hard days before they were finally successful. It will get easier with time.

Guidelines for support

The goals for the steps outlined in this section of the website are to find good reasons for drinking less and also to help identify other activities to substitute for drinking. It is sometimes easier to develop a plan for changing habits with the help of someone else. The person who is helping someone with the plan might find the following points helpful.

  • The suggestions outlined on this website page have been created with two types of drinkers in mind. Some are already having problems with drinking and want to change. Others are drinking smaller amounts of alcohol that put them at reduced risk of developing problems and experiencing health consequences. They have been advised to decrease the amount that they drink to lessen health risks and in order to prevent future problems.
  • Changing habits is sometimes difficult, but you can help in two ways. First, you can help with the exercises that have been provided, and second, you can provide encouragement and support.
  • Try not to criticize the person you are helping even if you get annoyed and frustrated with his or her behavior. Remember that changing behavior is never easy. There are bound to be both good weeks and bad weeks. Your positive encouragement, support of moderate drinking or abstinence and creative ideas can make all the difference.
Sources:
Get The Keys: How You Can Intervene, NHTSA. 18 July 2014.