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A web application to reduce heavy drinking in first-time DWI offenders

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43AA020174-01
Agency Tracking Number: R43AA020174
Amount: $196,722.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIAAA
Solicitation Number: PA10-050
Solicitation Year: 2011
Award Year: 2011
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
United States
DUNS: 35950059
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (505) 345-6100
Business Contact
Phone: (505) 345-6100
Research Institution

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a major public health hazard. In the U.S. there were 13,846 deaths in 2008 caused by alcohol-impaired drivers (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2009a). The New Mexico Dept. of Transportation reported the total DWI cost to New Mexico in 2007 was over one billion dollars (NM DoT, 2008). In New Mexico, 43% of DWI offenders are repeat offenders. This is unacceptable. More needs to be done to prevent first-time offenders from becoming recidivists. We propose to develop a new web application that could consistently and cost-effectively deliver an intervention that has the potential to reduce heavy drinking in first offenders by 45-55%. This reduction in drinking, and abstinence in some, would reduce their risk for future DWIs, alcohol-related crashes, injuries, and death. Taking advantage of a teachable moment, the program will incorporate two evidence-based brief motivational interventions (BMIs) and a prototype cognitive behavioral intervention (CBI) into a single, new program. There are four innovations in this proposal: 1) a web-based and age-appropriate BMI; 2) an abstinence-oriented CBI for offenders with a history of significant alcohol-related problems; 3) a textmessaging feature that incorporates users' content from the program, with the texts being sent at the users' designated high risk times for heavy drinking; and 4) an email feature in the CBI program that encourages users to return to the program and persist in their efforts to abstain. The RandD proposed here is to test the feasibility of: 1) combining three separate web applications so that the integrated program can run without freezing or crashing; 2) combining three separate databases (2 MS SQL Serverand 1 MySQL) into a single database that can serve all of the data calls from the new program; and 3) incorporating a customized and personalized cell phone text messaging feature into the program. The RandD will also test the feasibility of its use by a sample of DWI offenders. Providing evidence-based interventions to DWI offenders through substance abuse counselors has the potential to reduce heavy drinking in DWI offenders. There are, however, significant challenges: 1) many substance abuse counselors are not trained in evidence-based protocols; 2) even clinicians who are trained tend to drift from protocols over time; and 3) there is an average annual turn-over rate of 50% in counselors in substance abuse programs (McLellan et al., 2003). This means that programs providing training for staff in evidence-based protocols often have to do so on an on-going basis and are rarely compensated for this cost. We propose to address this challenge of implementing evidence-based interventions with this web application. We have successfully developed and disseminated evidence-based software programs for heavy drinkers from every Phase II we have completed. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Drunk driving is a major public health hazard that caused 13,846 deaths in theU.S. in 2008. If this program proves to be effective, it could become a reliable, cost-effective, and evidence- based intervention for first-time DWI offenders. Reducing the drinking, alcohol-related problems and drunk driving in this population would benefit the individuals, their families, and their communities.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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