Monthly Archives: July 2012

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse takes its toll on public health and our communities in many ways, including through higher rates of violent crime.

A new University of Minnesota study has confirmed that neighborhoods with a higher density of alcohol establishments experience more violent crime. But the study also compared neighborhoods with on-premise alcohol sales – such as bars and restaurants – with neighborhoods containing off-site alcohol sales, such as liquor stores.

Traci Toomey, a professor of epidemiology at the University’s School of Public Health, led the study.

On-premise alcohol sales led to more violent crime than off-premise sales

“We found a stronger relationship between density of alcohol establishments and violent crime for on-premise – the bars and the restaurants – than we did for the off-premise establishments,” she said.

“But that’s not to say that there wasn’t a connection between the number of, or the density of, off-premise establishments and violent crime. It’s just that it was higher, it was more magnified, for the on-premise establishments.”

Findings should influence policy

Toomey said that policy makers should consider these findings and previous studies when making decisions about the number of alcohol licenses to be granted in a given community.

“The recommendation is that we need to control the density of alcohol establishments in a neighborhood and in a community,” she said. “We need to make sure that we’re not flooding these communities with alcohol establishments and inadvertently increasing the problems that that neighborhood is experiencing.”

Toomey added that while elected officials may be tempted to increase the number of alcohol establishments as a way to raise revenue during tough economic times, she said that they need to weigh those benefits against the strong potential for increases in violent crime.

“An increase in violent crime will increase community costs in terms of law enforcement, court costs, health care costs, and contribute to a poorer quality of life for neighborhood residents.”

On-premise vs. off-premise

Toomey said that on-premise establishments like bars and restaurants sell alcohol to be consumed on site, while off-premise establishments like liquor stores and convenience stores sell alcohol to be consumed at a different location. As a result, these types of establishments could pose different problems for neighborhoods.

On-premise establishments are more likely to attract larger crowds, and customers at these establishments may drink too much and get involved in problems like fights and vandalism, Toomey said. Meanwhile, “off-premise establishment customers typically do not hang out at the establishment and are more likely to get intoxicated and have problems at different locations, potentially outside of the neighborhoods where they purchased the alcohol.”

Online Alcohol Awareness Classes Reduce Individual Risks of Alcohol Consumption

Although the study addresses environmental risk factors for violent crimes, such as the density of bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, substance abuse prevention specialists point to individual strategies for reducing the consequences of  over drinking by adults, and underage drinkers.  One strategy, online alcohol awareness classes uses the web to deliver information about the risks and consequences of alcohol use.  Typically mandated by courts for persons cited for underage drinking, theses classes have proven to reduce the frequency and negative consequences of drinking in underage emerging adults (ages 18 -25). Studies show that participants find the classes informative and effective. Currently, many colleges now require freshman to complete an online alcohol awareness class as part of  their college orientation.

Combining Environmental and Individual  Strategies Most Effective

It now appears that communities that limit the number of  establishments in a community that serve alcohol and offer individual strategies for young drinkers, such as online alcohol awareness classes, have the best chance of reducing violent crimes in their communities.  

Alcohol classes may benefit those at high risk for abuse and criminal activities

Online Alcohol Classes could benefit those who are at risk for alcohol abuse, drug abuse, Driving Under the Influence ( DUI ), theft, violent crimes – including domestic violence, and other crimes.  Our online alcohol class and online drug class focus on cognitive self change.  We also have Minor in Possession, Anger Management, DUI, Theft, Shoplifting, Relapse Prevention, Parent Divorce Education and Conflict Management classes.  All classes were created and are monitored by a LICENSED Clinical Professional Counselor with over 30 years experience. Alcohol and drug evaluations also available online with personal feedback from Tom Wilson, MA, LCPC.

The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) includes questions about the recency and frequency of consumption of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, whiskey, brandy, and mixed drinks. An extensive list of examples of the kinds of beverages covered is given to respondents prior to the question administration. A “drink” is defined as a can or bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a wine cooler, a shot of liquor, or a mixed drink with liquor in it. Times when the respondent only had a sip or two from a drink are not considered to be consumption. For this report, estimates for the prevalence of alcohol use are reported primarily at three levels defined for both males and females and for all ages as follows:

  • Current (past month) use – At least one drink in the past 30 days.   
  • Binge use – Five or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.
  • Heavy use – Five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.

These levels are not mutually exclusive categories of use; heavy use is included in estimates of binge and current use, and binge use is included in estimates of current use.

Click on class below to begin registration:

8 Hour Online Alcohol and Drug Class : $150
12 Hour Online Alcohol and Drug Class: $225
16 Hour Online Alcohol and Drug Class: $300
20 Hour Online Alcohol and Drug Class: $375
24 Hour Online Alcohol and Drug Class: $450

26 Hour Online Deferred Entry of Judgment / Drug Diversion Class: $450

What is a California Deferred Entry of Judgment Program?

What is Deferred Entry of Judgment for Drug Charges?

  • The Deferred Entry of Judgment Program is a “Diversion” program for first offense drug defendants.  Diversion is the procedure of suspending the criminal prosecution of an individual, by allowing the offender to complete a drug education, drug treatment, or drug rehabilitation program instead of further criminal proceedings. 

  • Diversion has become a very popular method of alleviating congested court calendars, while at the same time allowing first-offenders to avoid the blemish of a drug conviction on their record. The DEJ program allows offenders to avoid a criminal record by completing drug education or a drug counseling program.
  • If a first offense drug defendant has an otherwise clean criminal record, judges generally will find a defendant eligible for the deferred entry of judgement program without requiring a formal eligibility evaluation. 

Court Procedures for Deferred Entry of Judgment Program

  • Under California Penal Code 1000 (PC 1000) the defendant must agree to have his or her case referred to the probation department to determine if they are eligible for the diversion program. If the probation department agrees that the offender is eligible, the judge will set a hearing after the referral to the probation department.  
  • At the DEJ hearing the judge will determine eligibility for the diversion program. If found eligible by the judge, program requirements will be described to the defendant, including the  program length and the consequences of not enrolling or completing the program. 

  • In court, the defendant is advised that he or she must plead guilty to the charges, and pay a restitution fee of not less than $100 and not more that $1000. 
  • The defendant is advised that they are responsible for treatment, education or rehabilitation costs, and also for reasonable probation fees and costs. 
  • The defendant is advised that if he or she successfully completes the program, the criminal charges will be dismissed and the arrest for the charge(s) deemed to have never occurred. 
  • However, if the defendant fails to enroll in the diversion program or fails to comply with or complete the program requirements, diversion will be terminated and criminal proceedings against the defendant will proceed.   

Information for Out of State Defendants

  • If a person receives a first drug offense in California, but lives out of state, he or she may be eligible to complete the Deferred Entry of Judgement Program online. 
  • The Online Deferred Entry of Judgment Program can be taken to meet court requirements for out of state defendants.
  • Court approval is required, which can be obtained through a California licensed attorney. 
  • All California Out of State Resident classes at Tom Wilson Counseling Center: