About 150 people die and thousands are injured in driving accidents caused by alcohol and drug use in New Zealand every year; lives are cut short and families devastated. There are stories in the media about drink drivers nearly every day, often referring to the culprits as ‘bloody idiots’.
As a country, we have not been very effective at dealing with the issue. Historically, we have been keen to punish drink drivers by disqualifying them from driving or, in more serious cases, sending them to prison. But this had little or no impact on the number of people getting convicted – around 30,000 a year. The problem is New Zealand doesn’t provide much in the way of treatment or rehabilitation – either in prison or in the community. In the Wellington area, the Drink Driving Intervention Trust is trying to change that.
The Trust was established in October 2010 and is funded by the Ministry of Health to provide an interventions programme for repeat drink drivers on their second (or subsequent) conviction. The ten week programme requires offenders to Make a Plan to avoid drink driving in future – hence the name of the programme – MAP.
The Trust has two functions:
1) To provide an evidence-based treatment programme which addresses alcohol and drug use by drink drivers as well as anti-social attitudes and thinking associated with this particular kind of offending.
2) To provide a vehicle to educate and advocate in the media for compulsory assessment and treatment for those convicted of drink driving – and highlight the need for additional funding for addiction treatment in New Zealand.
The Trust has two facilitators – Denise Nassenstein and Roger Brooking. Our contact details are here.