Compulsory treatment of 50 alcoholic drunken drivers
Fifty alcoholic drunken drivers receiving treatment as part of a suspended sentence were studied to assess the efficacy of compulsory treatment. Twenty-six showed improvement in drinking behaviour, 12 did not co-operate and were referred back to court, 7 were re-arrested on further charges of drunken driving and 4 were committed to long-term rehabilitation centres (1 patient died too early to allow for adequate follow-up). The results compare favourably with improvement in alcoholics treated voluntarily. When regarded as their own controls, patients who had previously been arrested for drunken driving but had not been referred for treatment showed considerable improvement in their behaviour, as did patients who had had previous unsuccessful voluntary treatment. This programme appears to be worth while, at least for the duration of the suspended sentence. It also encourages early identification of alcoholics and their referral for treatment.