“Research indicates that people drink and drive 86 times before they get caught once,” he said. “What that tells me as a professional is that people don’t think it’s going to be them.” With the holidays approaching, more people are going to find themselves in situations where they may be tempted to drink alcohol and drive. But, Andrews cautioned, they need to remember that law enforcement agencies have more OVI checkpoints and more of a presence in the community in anticipation of impaired drivers during the holidays season. Andrews recommends people utilize a driving service like Uber, or designate a driver who won’t be drinking alcohol, and who isn’t taking any medications with a warning not to operate heavy machinery.

“People don’t realize they can get an OVI without ever touching a drop of alcohol,” Andrews said. “Some prescription medications could cause them to fail a Field Sobriety Test. Or, they may be impaired more quickly when combining alcohol with a prescription medication.” The legal alcohol limit is .08, but because of a law change several years ago, it is up to the officer’s discretion to charge someone with a blood alcohol level of .02. This means someone could get cited for an OVI just by operating a vehicle while taking a medication as prescribed and drinking alcohol. If an accident occurs, police will ask if a person has been drinking, or if they are taking any medications. People often feel fine, so they ignore the warnings not to operate heavy machinery while taking certain medications. It is up to the officer to find fault, and a person could be charged with an OVI. It is a situation Andrews said he has seen before, especially in older adults.

The following are some of the drug and alcohol programs offered through Community Behavioral Health. For more information, visit our website.

Decisions Driver Intervention Program: First time OVI/DUI offenders can sign up for a 72-hour stay at a local hotel and receive research-based instruction certified by the State of Ohio as an alternative to mandatory three day jail sentence for an OVI/DUI offence. The program includes a remedial driving 2 point reduction class, education regarding the physiology of alcohol and other abused substances, identifying the signs and symptoms of chemical dependency, stress management as an alternative to chemical use and referral assistance to appropriate community based programs as needed.

Countermeasures program is a two-day, 16 hour, drug and alcohol educational program geared toward misdemeanor offenses such as open containers, underage consumption and drug paraphernalia. It is most commonly applicable for individuals who have positive drug screens or suspected drug problems.

Multiple OVI Program: If a person has multiple OVI’s, or two or more alcohol related driving charges, they will receive a drug and alcohol assessment to determine the services and level of care they need. They will be closely monitored to ensure they are following probation terms, attending court hearings and staying off drugs and alcohol. If they need other services, such as housing, mental health or employment assistance, they also can receive that through Community Behavioral Health. View our program schedules. For more information on Decisions & Countermeasures, please contact John Andrews at (513) 868-5144 or jandrews@community-first.org.