DWI offender treatment has become more accessible in N.H.

To The Daily Sun,

DWI offender treatment has recently become more accessible.

In New Hampshire, impaired driving laws have rightfully become increasingly severe over the years in several ways as the need for safety and intervention remains a serious and challenging issue. With opiate-based as well as other hypnotic drugs becoming more available, that sedative effect can be lethal for someone who gets behind the wheel, as well as for other potential victims.

Longer license suspensions, higher fines and jail sentences for repeat offenders have resulted in impaired driving-related fatalities being diminished by 35-50 percent since the 1980s. For the law enforcement community, their client for whom services are being provided is the potential victim in the community. By increasing community safety, they are getting the job done and their clients are safer.

Recently, there has also been an increase in the funding availability of a crucial component of DWI prevention and intervention, which is after-care treatment and counseling. This is a good thing for impaired driver service providers (IDSP) whose client is the offender or potential offender. The added cost of required DWI aftercare counseling, along with all other related expenses, for some is insurmountable.

For many offenders, the string of fines and increased costs due to an impaired driver offense may eventually wear off, but the compulsion to imbibe persists, which can eventually skew proper judgment at just the wrong time and lead to yet another DWI arrest. The recovery cliché, "One was good, so two was better" does not at all apply to drunk driving arrests, especially if someone is hurt or killed.

Recently the accessibility to crucial substance abuse treatment for poor and low-income offenders has increased in availability through the NH Health Protection Plan. This is great news for a particular group who has lost their licenses.

As an Impaired Driver Service Provider, I have become familiar with a segment of recovering individuals who have been unknown to most in the community. This small, but not miniscule group are those who have lost their license to drive, which has motivated them to take responsibility for their substance use issues but have all but given up on getting back their licenses. This is not because they don't want to legally drive, but because they cannot and probably will not be able to afford the costs.

During the past few years I have provided home counseling and treatment for those who cannot travel to my office due to physical issues, children at home and of course no license. For the working class on up, the average $4,000 to $6,000 that a first DWI conviction eventually costs is a serious unplanned expense and for those with a higher income, it is an annoyance. For those offenders who live from paycheck to paycheck, an impaired driving conviction could very well mean no license in the foreseeable future or ever again, whether they continue to abuse substances or not.

There are many who have taken responsibility in every way they can, for their impaired driving transgression but when it comes to dredging up that extra couple thousand for insurance or the several hundred to get started on an ignition interlock, the funds are nowhere in sight. Some even sell their vehicles to pay some of the costs with no plan as to how they will get another car, even if they do regain their license to operate.

As part of my outreach service I offer to come to client's homes, which has given me an insight into the lives of many who have had future plans, possible job advancement and hopes for a slightly better quality of life stagnated or even reversed because years have gone by without being able to afford their license back. Visiting clients at their homes has been an insightful aspect of my counseling practice.

People feel comfortable at home and often as a result, emotional and communication barriers dissolve easier. For example, I have gotten to know single mothers who have to rely more so on entitlements as well as a father of a family of four who leaves his restaurant job at night and heads to a third shift shelf-stocking job to make ends almost meet.

Another example are construction workers who can no longer plow during the winter slow season for the company so they go on unemployment for the winter and sometimes don't get called back to work in the Spring. Others lose their jobs immediately and getting rehired without a license is not easy. Decent wage potential is unlikely with no driver's license. Many have been in long term recovery but without a license for years beyond their original suspension time, because repeating programs or accumulating the lump sums that are owed is still difficult.

These are folks who have paid a higher penalty than most offenders for their DWI conviction and many also, struggle with the guilt of knowing that they cannot come through for family members who depend on them.

Since the very first intoxicated driver laws that were initiated in 1907 New York City, to the current annual 11,000 fatalities, we continue to wrangle with the impaired driver problem and its sometimes horrific result. But for most to pay the penalty, learn their lesson and get back on the road, the system has done its job. For others to be chronically at a disadvantage because their driver's license is out of reach, the system needs improvement. Available treatment funding will help address that need and save money for the community.

Michael Tensel

A&D Recovery Counseling


  • Category: Letters
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Please join me in voting for Bob Davis as trustee of Meredith funds

To The Daily Sun,

It has been my pleasure to serve the Town of Meredith as one of the three trustees of the Meredith Trust Funds over the last nine years. The roles of the trustees are to create and administer an investment policy and manage town capital reserve, expendable and common trust funds with a value of in excess of $2.5 million.

Trustees issue payments of these funds and receive oversight from the office of the New Hampshire Attorney General.

I have decided not to run for re-election to a fourth term and am very happy to learn that Bob Davis has filed to run for this position. In addition to his MBA and Master's in Public Administration, Bob has a strong financial and management background with experience in small and larger organizations.

Perhaps most importantly, he has demonstrated his dedication to our community through his membership on the Meredith Conservation Commission as well as in Rotary and the Winona Forest Association. He has also served as treasurer and vice chairman of the Lakes Region Visiting Nurse Association.

Please join me in voting for Bob Davis as one of your Trustees of the Trust Funds on March 10.

Barbara Clark


  • Category: Letters
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Hiring CEO must be Hassan's way of dealing with unemployment

To The Daily Sun,

Just when we thought we had too many managers in New Hampshire state government the governor now wants a new position created. It's called Chief Operating Officer.

I thought that was the governor's job. Where will she get the money to compensate this proposed new state employee. Only she knows.

I guess it's the governors way of helping to reduce the unemployment percentage rate in New Hampshire.

Bill Whalen

  • Category: Letters
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On war powers, very concrete discussions have to take place

To The Daily Sun,

Where to begin. So much is happening on the national front it's sometimes very difficult to keep track. President Obama is facing many issues concerning ISIL. The killing of innocents continues to make news. Some very concrete discussions have to take place in Congress concerning their particular obligation on what they should be doing in order to deal with these ongoing issues. Congress must work with President Obama on this and other very crucial issues. Will it happen, that is yet to be seen, right?

Is trying to push through the Keystone Pipeline more of a priority for the new majority in Congress than making some decisions about ISIL? Sure looks that way. The oil industry lobbyists are throwing tons of money at our politicians to make sure that Keystone IS the priority.

John Boehner invited Bebe Netanyahu to speak before Congress. President Obama will not meet with Bebe while he is in this country in order to stay out of the fray. Many Democrats in Congress are seriously considering not attending this session. I say, good for them, since Boehner has broken with all protocol in extending an invitation to Bebe.

In addition, we have people sorta kinda declaring a possible run for the office of president of the United States. I say sorta kinda because they might be in the arena, but have yet to officially throw in their "collective hats." They make sure that they throw out brickbats, barbs and critiques when it comes to the concrete accomplishments of President Obama and his administration. But oh, and there is of course always a but, they sometimes or most times distort the facts and figures especially when it comes to the increase in jobs numbers and a stronger economy.

The fact that the Affordable Care Act has been a great success, with over 10 million people signed up for medical coverage who've not had it before. And certainly we cannot forget that congressional Republicans have tried over 50 times to repeal the ACA without any comprehensive substitute or viable and constructive additions and deletions. What a total waste of money that could have been put to much better use. Oh well, that's nothing new, right?

Now let's take a look at two of the possible, maybe, sorta kinda GOP possible candidates for President: Christie and Paul (one a governor, the other a medical doctor, libertarian and senator) who continue to muddy the waters of the measles outbreak. Oh, then Paul back-tracked and said he didn't say what he actually said. One has to wonder just how they can make statements which are counter-intuitive to long-held medical research and hard-core evidence to the contrary. In my opinion I don't believe that they are ready for "prime time." Many of their statements are the ones where we tend to shake our heads and say, did they really just say that...?

Jeb Bush (former governor of Florida) is or might be considering a run for the president of the U.S. How in the world is he going to run when many in his party don't want to pass any comprehensive immigration reform (an important issue that he has talked about addressing)? In addition, when it comes to public education in Florida there is a long history of underpaying their teachers. Florida's students do not score well on standardized tests. One has to ask if he can possibly explain or rationalize these truths to voters? Why didn't things improve while he had his tenure in the governor's mansion in Tallahassee?

Brian Williams, NBC National News commentator has been put on a six month leave without pay for exaggerating the truth about a helicopter ride in the war zone. Yet there are many other commentators on TV and radio who continue to bend the truth and outright lie to us each and every day without sanctions or reprimand. Huh?

Case in point, Rush Limbaugh who is losing sponsors as a result of his constant and ongoing daily vitriol. I would guess that his distortions and misleading statements have finally made his sponsors think twice about supporting this very negative individual. And that's a good thing.

Then on the local level we have the likes of the Earle, Wiles, Boutin, Meade, Young, Riley, et al trying to convince us that other letter writers are outright or borderline liars. Could it be that only those naysayers know the truth of each matter discussed in this forum? Of course not. But as the ole saying goes we are all entitled to our opinion, but we cannot change the facts, isn't that right my fellow writers?

Bernadette Loesch


  • Category: Letters
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Two latest vacancies on selectboard will be filled by appointment

To The Daily Sun,

I have had several residents inquire as to the process of electing and or appointing the Selectboard members for the town elections. There seems to be confusion given the unusual circumstances of having two resignations after the town ballot had been assembled.

The town elections are Tuesday, March, 10 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Community Center. At the town elections voting will take place for the two seats currently held by Carla Horne and Peter Brothers. Voters will fill those two seats only.

Pursuant to RSA 669:63, the two vacancies created by recent resignations will be filled by appointment by the remaining Selectboard members. There is no provision to include these seats on the ballot, as the resignations occurred after the ballot was assembled, and candidates signed up for offices. The current Selectboard has chosen to defer the filling of these vacancies until after the election. At that time the board will decide how it wants to fill the two remaining vacancies.

I hope this clarifies what the procedure will be.

Carla Horne, Chair

Meredith Selectboard

  • Category: Letters
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