Chief: Most impaired drivers aren’t drinking
by Rachel Davis
Jun 22, 2012 | 1379 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DORA — When the City of Dora voted to begin selling alcohol last year, many residents worried the number of public intoxication and driving under the influence incidents would increase.

Those numbers have increased in the city, but not for alcohol-related offenses.

“We haven’t had any spike in alcohol-related offenses,” Police Chief John Duchock said. “The only spike has been in prescription drug-related PI (public intoxication) and DUIs.”

In May 2011, a month before Dora voted on alcohol sales, the police department made two alcohol-related arrests. In the same month in 2012, with five locations in Dora licensed to sell alcohol, there were three alcohol-related arrests.

However, in May of 2012 there were 25 prescription drug-related PIs and DUIs.

In the first five months of 2012, the police department handled 92 drug-related PIs and DUIs, an average of 18.4 per month.

Compare that with 17 alcohol-related instances over the same five months, or an average of 3.4 per month.

According to the city magistrate and Duchock, only about two of every 10 DUI arrests made by the city are related to alcohol, the rest are drug related.

Duchock says the easy availability of prescription drugs contributes to this problem.

“People are getting drugs through over-prescribing and diversion — forging prescriptions or buying them off the street,” Duchock said.

“Many people have an abundance of prescription drugs they abuse or sell to others.”

Duchock credits an increased focus on drug prevention and enforcement with raising the number of arrests and convictions for drug charges in the city, but help from outside agencies has also played a key role.

“Sumiton PD has helped us out a lot of drug cases and the DA’s office has been great with us,” Duchock said.

“The ABC Board has also been helping us weekly on doing undercover buys and arresting people for prescription drug charges.”