A key component in the SATOP system is the ten-hour OEP primarily designed for “low risk” first-time offenders. The importance of this program in mitigating problems with these individuals cannot be understated. Effective education strategies that impact these individuals and result in them modifying their drinking and driving behavior is the goal.
The OEP is based on the assumptions that:
- Individuals want to live healthy and happy lives.
- Impaired and drunk driving are preventable behaviors.
- Given adequate information and motivation, the majority of these individuals will choose to avoid further use of alcoholic beverages while driving.
- Behaviors can change when the individual makes conscious choices to change these behaviors.
- Individuals want to make responsible choices for their behaviors, thereby making their communities safer.
- Having more factual information about drinking and driving will assist individuals in making better choices.
The OEP is not punishment for having been arrested for drinking and driving. It is an opportunity for these individuals to learn about the consequences of drinking and driving while exploring their own behaviors and ideas for change to avoid future DWIs. The OEP is strictly a facilitated educational experience.
The objectives of the OEP are:
- To inform the participants about the physical and mental impairments caused by drinking and driving and the hazards and consequences.
- To promote among the participants responsible decision-making regarding driving, an examination of their drinking behaviors and attitudes, and development of strategies to change behavior and attitudes related to alcohol and other drug use and driving.
- To involve the participants in an active learning process to improve retention and motivate change.
Session #1 goals include:
- Understanding the concept of impairment
- Knowing how many Americans are drinking and driving and the extent of the problem
- Exploring the relationships between drugs and driving
- Identifying the legal consequences of drinking and driving
Session #2 goals focus on:
- How social drinking differs from alcoholic drinking
- The physical effects of alcohol and other drugs
- The effects of alcohol and other drugs on driving
- The impact on the victims of those who drink and drive
Session #3 goals include:
- Understanding the personal costs of a DWI
- Understanding the medical and health impact of alcohol and other drug use
- Understanding the social/emotional effect of alcohol abuse on the individual user and his or her family
Session #4 goals expand on:
- Understanding behaviors in relation to alcohol and other drug use
- Assessing the importance of taking responsibility for one's own actions
- Developing and applying strategies for preventing future alcohol and other drug use problems