New Study Focuses on Drug, Alcohol Assessment Tool for Counseling DWI Offenders
Posted on: January 22, 2016 Time to read: 2 minutes
A recent publication in Addiction Science & Clinical Practice demonstrates how 3rd Millennium Classrooms is helping to change behavior and reduce the risks associated with alcohol and drug use by operators of motor vehicles. By incorporating evidence-based practices in motivational interviewing counseling sessions and by simplifying alcohol and drug risk assessments with the 3rdMil DWI/DUI Assessment, clients with DWI, DUI or AOD violations have a greater potential for a favorable outcome with a lower chance of reoffending.
The aim of the study was to “determine the feasibility and usability of implementing a computer-assisted screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) program for DWI offenders to enable the identification of those in need of treatment services soon after arrest.” The screening may offer a relatively low-cost intervention that could have a significant impact on public safety, the study claims.
The 3rdMil DWI/DUI Assessment is not a course; it’s an alcohol and drug assessment tool that helps counselors determine the appropriate next steps on treatment and intervention with offenders. Using computers to facilitate the screening aspect offers the potential to minimize costly barriers like time and personnel resources. It can be delivered by nonclinical staff in order to identify problematic alcohol use patterns, intervene and help guide offenders who need treatment to more specialized services, like specialty doctors or support groups.
The tool referred to as Motivational Alcohol Treatments to Enhance Roadway Safety (MATTERS) calculates answers and risk scores based on the offender’s responses, eliminating the need for traditional paper-and-pencil methods. It quickly generates feedback, summarizing the offender’s responses and becoming a powerful coaching tool for counselors who aim to determine appropriate levels of intervention and treatment.
In a counseling office or other neutral setting, the offender fills out the 3rdMil DWI/DUI Assessment online using a computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device. They can conveniently complete the assessment in less than 30 minutes; the average reported time was 20 minutes. Once completed, the offender’s alcohol and drug use findings are summarized into a report. Next, they meet with a counselor to discuss the findings from the summary report. Engaging in a reflective conversation about their substance usage using motivational interviewing has proved to be one of the most effective strategies to impact the behavior of offenders.
The assessment received generally positive feedback from both offenders and counselors, possibly because a high percentage of offenders were honest when endorsing their behavior while using alcohol and/or drugs. The willingness to participate was likely because the screening was conducted online; research has shown that individuals are more likely to report negative behaviors in computer-based interviewing than in face-to-face interviewing. The study found that computer-assisted screening might be a more feasible method for screening at-risk behaviors in the criminal justice system.