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Ahwatukee gets DUI treatment screener

Ahwatukee gets DUI treatment screener

Increases options for providing help to area offenders

Betty Beard
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 15, 2006 12:00 AM

Up to now, Ahwatukee Foothills residents convicted of driving while intoxicated and unable to drive had to somehow make it to Chandler, Tempe or elsewhere for court-ordered evaluations.

Because their driver's licenses were suspended and there was no place in Ahwatukee authorized to do the screenings, they had to take a bus, bicycle, walk or hitch a ride with a friend or relative.

Now Ahwatukee Foothills has its own "screener" - Gigi Veasey, owner of Alcohol Recovery Solutions.

Veasey just got a state license from the Department of Health Services to do the initial screenings that determine treatment for DUI offenders.

"There were options all over the Valley but nothing in Ahwatukee," Veasey said. "I had a couple of people who called early this year complaining they had to take a bus. It took a few hours on the bus to get to a class in Mesa. If you are not on time, the doors are locked."

When someone is convicted of drunken driving, they must go to a state-approved screener, who determines whether they need education or treatment and what type. They may be assigned to a two-day, 16-hour class that costs $160, as well as up to 20 hours of individual or group therapy and treatment.

That is in addition to jail time that generally ranges from three to 60 days.

"It's an experience most people don't want to repeat," Veasey said.

Most people also lose their driving privileges. Some offenders can get restricted licenses that allow them to go only to work and care appointments.

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