June 5, 2020

Resources to Help Assist in the Supervision of High Risk Impaired Drivers in a Time of Pandemic

As we all grapple with the incredible stressors brought on by the COVID-19 Pandemic, high-risk impaired drivers, the population most likely to be dealing with alcohol/substance use and addiction, can be particularly impacted. With social distancing comes isolation and increased challenges in getting to support groups and treatment, as well as the desire to drink or drug as a coping mechanism. Simultaneously, the courts, community supervision officers, and treatment providers struggle with how to manage when our business as usual no longer exists.

A number of organizations have stepped up, offering webinars and materials proposing suggestions and virtual solutions which apply to the impaired driving population. While these suggestions are not just specific to impaired drivers, they help address issues surrounding treatment, problem solving courts, and day to day supervision of our criminal justice population in the time of a pandemic. These webinars were very well received and have been archived for those individuals who missed the initial presentations.

  • The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) has offered a number of Webinars including practical solutions to help problem solving courts adapt, continuing drug and alcohol treatment and ways to track participant progress. NADCP has assembled a library of resources for treatment courts to use as the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. See this information along with a list of upcoming Webinars.
  • The American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) offers webinars on community supervision in the time of a pandemic and offers a wealth of information on how this situation is being addressed by probation and parole, not only in the US, but around the world. Visit this Resource.
  • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) offers information on programs that offer alcohol treatment while practicing social distancing. See information on this topic.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) vendors may offer specific information on COVID-19 and IID’s for clients, installers, and those charged with contract oversight. By way of example, SmartStart Inc. provides comprehensive information that can apply to most, if not all IID Venders. Visit website.
  • Online peer support groups offer online and virtual options to support individuals in recovery without requiring face to face contact. In a recent NADCP/APPA webinar titled Using Remote Technology to Enhance Criminal Justice Outcomes, Dr. Doug Marlowe offered the following examples that are available to our clients in recovery:

As we continue to obtain new information on the COVID-19 pandemic, it will result in new workarounds and creative ways to work with this high-risk population. Despite these challenges, our goal to reduce DUI recidivism and increase safety to our roadways must remain the same.