Anyone who drives after drinking alcohol to the point where their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels go beyond the usual 0.08% limit has a very high likelihood of getting arrested for a DUI.
Worse, they could get involved in a drunk driving accident and end up hurting themselves, their passengers, and other people. If they survive the crash, they are going to need a DUI attorney by their side because they are going to face a criminal case that has the potential to turn their lives upside down.
These could happen to people who don’t drink often or too much. Now imagine how bad things are going to get if the one behind the wheel is someone who consumes a lot of alcohol and does it as frequently as he or she can.
The problem with alcohol addiction
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 88,000 people die alcohol-related deaths in the United States alone. NIAAA also says that over 15 million American adults have a drinking problem. Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is a growing problem not only in the US but the whole world as well.
Alcoholism is a form of drug addiction that takes a heavy toll on its victims. Unlike casual drinkers, alcohol addicts drink to excess and often have no control over their overwhelming desire to drink. They tend to drink first thing in the morning, and typically end their day with a few more drinks. Alcoholics tend to drink alone, too, and they don’t mind. Even when their drinking is already causing problems with their relationships, they would still be unlikely able to control it. And if you ask them about their drinking, their reaction will likely be one of anger and hostility.
The long-term physical effects of alcohol addiction are numerous. The liver, for example, will always be badly hit by excessive alcohol consumption. Cirrhosis, cancer, and hepatitis are just some of the illnesses of the liver that alcoholics are more than likely to suffer. Other chronic diseases that alcoholism can bring about include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and digestive problems.
Alcohol can also cause a disruption in the brain’s communication pathways. As it affects the brain’s neurotransmitters, alcohol also slows down the transmission of information. These effects on the brain often result in memory loss, seizures, and depression.
For alcoholics, their heavy and long-term drinking can also cause their brain cells and their overall brain mass to shrink, which would directly affect their cognitive functions as well as their mood, sleeping patterns, and motor skills.
Alcoholics have no business driving
Casual drinkers who get behind the wheel after a drink or two are already dangerous enough. With alcohol affecting their vision, concentration, reflexes, and motor skills, they are already at risk of causing a drunk driving accident. When it’s an alcoholic that’s in control of a vehicle, then the chances of an alcohol-related car crash taking place becomes a lot higher. In all likelihood, the deadliest car crashes in history were caused by drivers who were more than just casual drinkers.
Substance abuse assessment programs for DUI convicts
It might be hard for authorities to detect an alcoholic on sight, but once a person gets convicted of DUI in most states, they are made to undergo substance abuse assessment programs.
These programs aim to determine if a person has a drug or alcohol problem. If the interview by a licensed or certified substance abuse counselor and the results of the structured assessment questionnaire DUI convicts are required to answer reveal that they indeed have a substance abuse problem, then they will be recommended for professional treatment programs.
While these treatment programs may not be guaranteed ways of getting rid of alcohol addiction completely, they at least give alcoholics a chance to get their lives back on track, and become responsible drivers once again.