07 December 2017
December is Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Month
December is designated as Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Month in an effort to eliminate the tragic consequences of drugged or drunk driving and rededicate ourselves to preventing it this December and throughout the year.

During the month of December, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, within the U.S. Department of Transportation with the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration remind us to celebrate safely during this holiday season.

Impaired driving includes distracted driving, drugged driving and drunk driving. A driver commits the crime of impaired driving whenever his or her ability to safely operate a vehicle is impaired by the effects of illegal drugs, prescription medications, over-the counter medications or by having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

Why do we recognize National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month?

In an average year, 30 million Americans drive drunk, and I0 million Americans drive impaired by illicit drugs. The good news is that the number of alcohol impaired driving has been significantly reduced over the past decade, but impaired driving continues to be a serious public health concern and threat to public safety.

In 2013, one-third of all traffic-related deaths were people killed in an alcohol-impaired driving crash. More than 10,000 people were killed in these crashes, meaning that nearly 28 people died every day in motor vehicle accidents that involved an alcohol-impaired driver. More than one in five crash fatalities that year occurred in a crash that involved a drunk driver with a blood alcohol concentration at or above 1.5 – almost double the legal limit of .08.

Just like driving after drinking alcohol, the use of illegal drugs or misuse of prescription drugs can make operating a motor vehicle unsafe. Even small amounts of some drugs can have a measurable effect.

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 10 million people aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the year prior to being surveyed. And a higher percentage of young adults aged 18-25 drive after taking drugs or drinking than do adults 26 or older.

December seems particularly suited to this observation because traffic fatalities that involve impaired drivers increase significantly during the Christmas and New Year's holiday periods. Over the entire month of December 2012, a staggering 830 people lost their lives in crashes involving a drunk driver. On Christmas Day in 2012, 26 people were killed by drunk drivers.

More than half (53 percent) of the drunk drivers in fatal crashes had at least one previous DUI conviction on their record – don't take second chances! The effects of impaired driving crashes can devastate survivors and their families for a lifetime. The negative effects may include emotional swings, guilt, nightmares or flashbacks, and depression.

What steps can people take to prevent drunk and drugged driving?

Because impaired driving puts people at a higher risk for crashes, public health experts urge people who use alcohol or drugs to develop social strategies to prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a car while impaired. Steps people can take include:
• Offering to be a designated driver.
• Appointing a designated driver to take all car keys.
• Getting a ride to and from events where there are drugs or alcohol.
• Discussing the risks of impaired driving with friends/family in advance.
• Find a designated driver service such as www.DrinkingandDriving.org.
• Show your commitment by wearing a Prevent Drunk and Drugged Driving bracelet during the month of December.
• Bracelets are available at your Army Substance Abuse Program offices; Fort Detrick and Forest Glen, 1520 Freedman Drive, Fort Detrick, Maryland, Office 217 and WRNMMC, 4650 Taylor RoadBethesda, Maryland 20889, Building 17, Suite 1B, Room 1029.

If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone's life, and inaction could cost a life.

When it comes to our children, families play an essential part in stopping impaired driving. NHTSA asks minors to avoid alcohol, and encourages parents and other caregivers to make a new or renewed commitment to never cater a party to underage drinking. By talking about the risks and setting clear expectations, parents and other caregivers can help their children stay safe, sober, and focused on the road. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (http:// www.drugfree.org) is one of many helpful on-line resources available to families and caregivers.

Need Help?

If you are concerned with your alcohol or drug use please take the time to do an on-line assessment at https://mentalhealthscreening.org or http://afterdeployment.dcoe.mil or https://www.niaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health, or schedule an appointment with a certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in your area. Whether you are struggling with effects of loss, or are concerned about substance misuse, there are many resources available.

For confidential help contact the Employee Assistance Program at (800) 222-0364. For additional Drug and Alcohol information and/or services please contact your Army Substance Abuse Program at (301) 619-2120.
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