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Why are all individuals charges with dwi's assumed to be alcoholics and treated by the system as such?

Detroit, MI |

Medical eval & intervention for other illnesses (such as undiagonosed Adult ADHD) could be successful and help avoid repeat offenders. Extenuating circumstances need to be considered instead of the ruination of a family, a life, of holding onto a job or any chance of affording appropriate medical help..in so many cases assumptions are made and bored court paid defenders are just showing up with no intention of doing anything other then the bare minimum. Only the wealthy can afford the expensive legal defense to bypass the status quo.

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Posted

This appears to be more of a rant resulting from frustration than a true question. Regardless, most states require evaluations after even a first DUI to determine if there is a problem. There is a pretty good chance that if you get a DUI, you have a problem. Once you have received multiple DUIs, it is a virtual certainty.

I am assuming that this is a first. I am also uncertain why you are saying that you are being treated as an alcoholic. Please clarify.

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Sorry you don't feel my observation/question isn't a question. I am upset and feel that complications from another illness vs. alcoholism is not considered by the court and that the treatment is quite cut and dried. Bottom line is no one wants to be responsible for harming or killing others or themselves due to an illness/disease (seizure, heart attack, etc.). Research on ADHD that has been unidentified in an individual has so many ramifications with substance abuse being a particualar % of symptoms of ADHD that it isn't addressed in the treatment programs as it is too new of a concept...This isn't about me, it is about a loved one's current and ongoing situation and yes he has a problem but not sure alcoholism is the first cause...feel in my heart it is undiagnosed and untreated ADHD due to a divorce/custody battle with an ex spouse who refused to allow our child to seek counseling because he didn't believe in it. Thank you for your contributions to this website. It really helps people gain perspective and learn about aspects of the law that they had never been exposed to previously and never dreamed they ever would be.

Michael Lawrence Doyle

Michael Lawrence Doyle

Posted

It is, as you said, an observation as opposed to a question. What I will say, is that many times alcohol is way of self medicating for other illnesses-such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, bi-polar etc. That does not mean that alcoholism is worse. In fact, they are often intertwined. I am not sure what is being done that makes you fell that he/she is being "treated as an alcoholic." Regardless, good luck to him/her with their situation.

Asker

Posted

Thank you again for this response giving me even more insight which helps me organize my emotionally charged thoughts.

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Posted

After more online research I have found the point I was trying to make: People who suffer from both mental illness and a substance use disorder often receive care from two very different types of systems, creating confusion for patients, their families and clinicians, says Ken Duckworth, MD, Medical Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “If you have schizophrenia, you are thought to have a condition that you aren’t responsible for, so caregivers organize around trying to help you with medication, jobs, housing and benefits,” says Dr. Duckworth, who is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School. “Although substance abuse is a brain-based phenomena, our culture holds you accountable for it—they assume it’s your choice, and your recovery.” Co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse is one of the issues NAMI is focusing on during Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 7-13. Finding the best treatment for people with co-occurring disorders is so important because these are some of the highest risk, most vulnerable individuals, Dr. Duckworth notes. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 8.9 million adults in the U.S. have both a mental and substance use disorder. Only 7.4 percent of individuals receive treatment for both conditions, and 55.8 percent receive no treatment at all. Dr. Duckworth has seen the conflict between the two care systems when he has sent patients with mental illness to an AA meeting, and they have come back and said they were advised to throw out their lithium. “I do notice that within the culture of AA, there is still some variability in the acceptance of biochemical intervention,” he says. “This is a complicated area, because chemical dependence has caused tremendous suffering. However, I don’t view the use of lithium as chemical dependency.” Some AA groups are completely supportive of medications to treat mental illness, he adds. He also sees variability in how suboxone is viewed as a treatment for opioid dependence. “Some major substance abuse treatment centers don’t believe in it,” he says. “As a field, we have not come to an agreement on this.” Dr. Duckworth says more needs to be done to integrate mental health and substance abuse treatment. One critical need is increased training in co-occurring disorders for psychiatry residents. He does see some improvement in this area. “When I was in training, psychiatrists didn’t use AA as a key resource for patients,” he says. “Now, psychiatrists are using AA, NA, Al-Anon and peer resources.” He sees several other encouraging signs the fields are starting to work together. One is the growing use of peer support in mental health, which grew out of substance abuse treatment. Another is the increasing use of depression screening in substance abuse programs. “We still don’t have a fully integrated service system, but we are better off than we were 10 or 15 years ago,” he commented. “As a field, we’re going in the right direction.”

Asker

Posted

More needs to be done to foster integration between substance abuse and mental illness treatment. However, it is important to note that the integration most go beyond referral to AA to address substance abuse disorders. AA is a self-help support to substance abuse treatment and should not be viewed as an adequate substitute for medically supervised treatment interventions. Furthermore, within the self-help movement there are meetings such as Double Trouble which are supportive of persons with co-occurring CD and MH recovery efforts.Until the medical profession begins to embrace their role in addressing the chronic, progressive disease of chemical abuse and dependence there will continue to be fragmented and and two-tiered approach to treating those with co-occurring disorders.

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Posted

An overwhelmingly busy psychiatrist says, "Doing psychiatric and addiction work in a variety of settings. The entire treatment system from top to bottom, addiction and psychiatry, is all about money and turf and not very concerned about science or quality. It is embarrassing. The whole system is sick. It is only the spark in my patients’ eyes that keeps me working.

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Posted

These people, who are much better educated than I and work in the system help explain what seems to me to be a better approach to repeat offenders of dwi or ??? and keep showing up in court only to destroy them and their family and their extended families and society...It is all about money, not the betterment of society...IT TAKES A VILLAGE and in my view, it is COMMON SENSE, intuitive knowledge that multiple higher education/university degrees could never teach.

Posted

Sorry that you've had such a frustrating experience. Many court appointed lawyers are excellent and can provide very good legal representation. Not everyone who is charged with a first offense is considered to have an alcohol problem but some judges believe this to be true. A good attorney, whether retained or appointed, can often educate the court when there is a circumstance of an isolated incident.

Sincerely,

Mr. Loren Dickstein, Esq.
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.
2000 Town Center, Ste. 2350
Southfield, MI 48075
(248) 263-6800 - Fax: (248) 357-1371
Email: ldickstein@notafraidtowin.com
www.NotAfraidToWin.com
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I'm sure a lot of people could respond to this post and go on about the politics of drinking and driving, MADD, and other interest groups. DUI is a major money maker for the courts, police, state, testing groups, etc.

They relate the testing to the offense under the bond conditions.

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I was a card carrying MADD mother many decades ago and never dreamed I would be facing what I am facing with my son. I feel that it is a major money maker for the courts, police, state, impound yards, assessing groups, and is more about retaliation for something the trying to work as a village to cure the problem...the temperance movement and prohibition didn't work and I feel that the dui system as it is structured to financially cripple the individual and family lessening the abiltiy to get good long term psychological care and rehab beyond the minimum court ordered programs that are attended by offenders that are angry and full of animosity. Not everyone is cut out for the AA program of baring your soul to a group of strangers, they need one one or small group help that they cannot afford...no employer will hire them, no job, no health insurance...seems a vicious circle of inept societal attempt at a rememdy which amounts to bitter revenge in the truly lucky offenders who are targeted and tailgated by police officiers ... too much, just too much to detail here. Thank you for your participation on this website allowing people to ask questions, learn and obviously, in my case, vent and envision a better way. "It takes a village..."

Posted

Most judges in Michigan attend various judicial seminars to help them with all of the skills they need to perform the role of judge. Which includes not only the skills needed for management of trials, but also the skills needed to impose effective sentences on those who are guilty. Effective sentences cover a broad range of goals: punishment, rehabilitation of the individual, and protection of society, for example. From talking with various judges who are regularly required to sentence persons guilty of DUI (actually now known as OWI in Michigan), I understand that at these judicial seminars on OWI, they've received information that "statistically" any person convicted of OWI has anywhere from a 70% to 90% likelihood of having a problem with alcohol. AS another contributor indicated, if a person has a second conviction of OWI, it is virtually certain that there is a problem with alcohol. This information is regarded by most judges as a reality, which is often confirmed by their experiences as a judge. I think most of the other issues you raise, though they may be valid, would be regarded by most judges as an example of "denial" on your part, and rather than persuading the judge to treat you differently from other OWI cases, would convince him or her of the accuracy of the statistical information.

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Thank you for your guidence and insight.

Posted

At the time of sentencing, the court has the goals of protecting the public, discouraging repeat offenses by the same offender, discouraging other people from committing the same offense and rehabilitation. In DUI cases, courts often rely on certified alcohol education programs, medical personal and inpatient alcohol education programs to help the courts achieve these goals. As a general rule, the court doesn't automatically assume that every person who gets charged with a DUI is an alcoholic. Courts know that a first time offender can commit a DUI offense out of ignorance: by not knowing the effects of alcohol and how alcohol impacts the ability to drive. Courts know that even a high breath test reading can be due to ignorance and inexperience with alcohol. Courts know that even the term "alcoholism" means different things to different people. However, some facts, particular to a case, may strongly suggest that a serious alcohol problem exists. For example, a driver who is stopped with a very high breath test score who is still coherent would probably suggest to a court that the driver has a high tolerance for alcohol. Such a high tolerance generally means that the person obtained that tolerance by drinking over a long period time. The cases that you've observed, in which a court appears to be jumping to the conclusion that a person has an alcohol problem, may include such facts.

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Because Mothers Against Drunk Driving is big business and that institutional belief sends a lot of people into counselling where insurance dollars are used to line the pockets of agencies closely aligned with and often funded by MADD

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