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June 07, 2023

Screening for Mental Health Among DUI Offenders

Updated Research and Best Practices for using the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS)

DUI offenders, particularly repeat DUI offenders, often suffer from a number of psychiatric disorders and other psychosocial risks, suggesting that untreated mental health and behavioral issues likely contribute to the persisting rate of DUI. However, interventions for DUI offenders often ignore and fail to screen for underlying mental health issues.

This presentation describes an innovative assessment, the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS), for use in DUI treatment and court settings. CARS packages a powerful mental health assessment with a user-friendly interface, flexible administration, treatment referrals, and immediate personalized output, to create a tool that can be used easily by DUI programs to screen DUI offenders and target comorbid mental health issues. CARS allows a non-trained clinician, criminal justice practitioner, or program administrator to perform a comprehensive mental health screening to inform integrated planning, case management, and treatment decisions. CARS has been evaluated through a randomized controlled trial comparing screener, full, and self-administered version of the CARS tool to intake as usual at DUI programs. Additionally, the CARS Screener module has been validated using data from a large nationally representative survey, the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).

This presentation will discuss the research supporting the need for mental health screening among DUI offenders, as well as the research supporting the use of CARS for mental health screening within DUI populations.