Research with alcoholics and drug abusers has demonstrated that interventions focused on reducing the harmful consequences of future alcohol/drug consumption and increasing client motivation for change have a positive impact on treatment engagement and treatment outcome. In the present study, we propose an intervention for DWI offenders that includes the use of motivational interviewing strategies within the context of a comprehensive harm reduction approach focusing on decreasing future harm related to alcohol and drug use, including DWI recidivism. The sample will consist of 1,200 convicted DWI offenders participating in the New York State Drinking Driver Program (DDP). All subjects will participate in an initial comprehensive assessment session. Following the assessment session, subjects will be randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions: information only (IO), motivational interview feedback session (MI), motivational interview feedback session plus six-treatment sessions focused on reducing the harmful consequences of alcohol use (MI+). One-week after the assessment session, individuals in the IO group will return for an alcohol information session that will consist of viewing a videotape concerning the effects of alcohol advertising on behavior. Individuals in the MI condition will return for a feedback session that will incorporate principles of motivational interviewing designed to increase the individuals motivation to make a change in their use of alcohol. Finally, individuals in the MI+ condition will return for a feedback session and the six-session harm reduction intervention. The MI and MI + interventions are designed to be easily portable to other treatment protocols.
Aims of the proposal are as follows: 1. To assess the relative effects of experimental conditions on commitment to and involvement in changing drinking and drug use behavior over short-term and long-term follow-ups for a sample of convicted DWI offenders. 2. To assess systematically the relative effects of experimental conditions on the alcohol and drug use, and substance-related problems of convicted DWI offenders. 3. To assess whether the experimental conditions are related to DWI recidivism. In summary, the proposed research will provide important clinically-relevant data for DWI offenders on the effectiveness of brief harm reduction approaches designed to increase client motivation for changing drinking behavior, reduce client dropout from treatment, and reduce DWI recidivism.
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