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Women Cited for DUIs on the Rise
DAYTON -- The number of drunk driving arrests involving women is climbing. Female DUI cases in the U.S. have doubled in the last 30 years.
A recent report from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation shows the arrest rate has climbed just in the last decade by nearly 30 percent.
Nancy and Karen Dean are mother and daughter, both recovering alcoholics, and both say it has something to do with the amount of stress in our culture. Nancy Dean says she started drinking when her children were young, and her husband traveled a lot for his job.
"It was a lot of pressure to take care of the family. I was working full-time, had two small children," Nancy Dean said.
Her wake-up call came when she lost her job.
Her daughter Karen realized she had a problem after a rollover accident, which she didn't remember when she woke up.
"Thank God I didn't kill anyone or hurt myself really bad," Karen Dean told us.
All of the women arrested for drunk driving and interviewed by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation had something in common, a stressful event like a breakup, a death in the family, or becoming empty-nesters.
Probation Officer Sue Davis says, "People don't think it's going to happen to them."
Davis also teaches driver intervention classes.
"I've had parents who are embarrassed because they have teenage children and don't want them to know," Davis said. She, too, is a recovering alcoholic. "I see the havoc that it causes. It ripples through the whole family,"
More than half the women in the study were single, separated or divorced.
"Women don't like to ask for help. We can do it ourselves. We can do it, we can do it, we can do it. I can do it alone. And I can't," Nancy Dean observed.
Nancy and Karen got help. They credit their recovery to a 12-step program, which they take to women behind bars.
"I see the women in jails and prisons, and I'm grateful that I'm here today and can say, I know how you feel. I know what you're going through," Karen said.
Davis agrees. "Because of the support, and you realize you're not so unique that other people share the experience and strength and hope."
Davis says recovery rates are much higher when treatment is paired with a 12-step program.
The Traffic Injury Research Foundation reported women are happier in female-only programs including Alcoholics Anonymous, and the women in those groups were more likely to predict lasting outcomes.
"Be around people with the same problem. For me that was a solution," Nancy advises.
It's a solution which brought this mother and daughter much closer together. "We're like sisters now. It's been wonderful," Nancy says.
There are signs that you or a person you love has a problem with alcohol.
If it's causing financial issues, like trouble paying bills, if it's affecting work or your family, and certainly if you find yourself in the law enforcement arena, it's time to get some help.
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