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Editors note: This article is part of a local Community Health Council, or CHIC, project. Health Councils were created statewide in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health with the goal of getting local citizens and count governments more involved in the manner in which health might be improved in each of their communities. The local CHIC is conducting an ongoing awareness campaign addressing the various areas that can potentially affect a person’s health. November brings attention to DWI Awareness.

The San Juan County Commission voted during its Nov. 3 regular meeting, to proclaim Nov. 16 through 20 as DWI Awareness Week. The purpose of the proclamation is to create awareness around the issue of DWI and alcohol abuse and to highlight the efforts of the Local DWI Program in San Juan County.

The L-DWI Program/Facility has been providing jail-based treatment services, case management services, family training services and community supervision services to the courts, convicted DWI offenders and their families for over 20 years. The DWI Facility has a staff of more than thirty full-time employees. These staff members work together to provide 24-hour custodial care and treatment. This secure and safe environment is conducive to learning while implementing a variety of treatment modalities, all of which are supported by consistent aftercare monitoring.

Since August, 1994, more than 10,000 individuals, mostly first and second offenders and their families, have been involved in services provided by the San Juan County DWI Facility. The current program reflects a model of incarceration, treatment, and aftercare, combining the legal leverage of the criminal justice system with the therapeutic arm of recovery.

The program incorporates state-of-the-art empirically supported protocols in both treatment and aftercare services, specifically, Motivational Interviewing, which helps clients identify individual reasons and strategies to avoid alcohol and drug abuse, and the Community Reinforcement Approach, or CRA, which is a comprehensive behavioral program focused on environmental contingencies in support of sobriety.

Alongside the mandated treatment sessions following the CRA model, clients are offered access to Traditional Therapies and religious services on a voluntary basis. A special program, called Community Reinforcement Approach Family Training and based on the CRA protocol, is also offered weekly for the client’s concerned significant others.

The DWI Facility boasts a 99.5 percent successful completion rate for the jail-based treatment program and an overall average recidivism rate of 9 percent over the past 5 years.

In addition to case-managed aftercare, many of these offenders leave the jail-based treatment program and begin working with a Court Compliance Officer at the Adult Misdemeanor Compliance Program. While supervising the offender for the Court, the CCO assists the offender in completing all court mandates, maintaining a clean and sober lifestyle and continuing down a path of productivity, health and wellness.

The San Juan County Alternative Sentencing Division improves the quality of life for citizens of San Juan County by providing credible sentencing options for the judiciary and promoting viable opportunities for offender success.

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