Novel interventions to help citizens with hazardous substance use and prevent driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
The majority of Danes with hazardous substance use do not seek treatment. The police may help solve this challenge by encouraging relevant citizens to enrol in treatment e.g. during DUI charges. Danes charged for DUI are often repeat offenders stopped during the day, suggesting underlying substance use problems. Existing sanctions (e.g. fines, driving license suspensions) do not address these underlying problems, stressing the need for novel interventions to help citizens with hazardous substance use and prevent harms. We examined whether it was feasible to implement novel prevention interventions into the workflow of the police and municipal treatment facilities, with the aim of motivating relevant citizens to enrol in substance use treatment and prevent DUI.
Three prevention interventions, focused on charges for/or suspected DUI, were implemented in three Danish police districts and 25 municipalities. In all interventions, a local police officer encouraged relevant citizens to be contacted by an alcohol/drug counsellor. Anonymous aggregated data including number of citizens encouraged to be contacted, successfully contacted, and accepting treatment, were collected from March 2021-March 2022. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participating police officers, counsellors, and citizens about feasibility and acceptability.
Findings showed that 2 out of 3 citizens that gave consent had consultancy via telephone and 1 out of 3 further treatment. The interviews indicate that most citizens are not aware of the flexible options for treatment and are grateful for getting help. The interviews revealed positive attitudes towards the interventions from all involved actors and both police and counsellors perceive the tasks as easily manageable.
It was feasible to integrate novel interventions where the police facilitate contact between relevant citizens and alcohol/drug counsellors (despite covid-19), and findings regarding treatment enrolment are promising. Studies assessing potential long-term effects on DUI and other harms are warranted.