Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS)

In our last article- DUI & DWI IN NORTH CAROLINA – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW, we discussed in detail the process and laws regarding DWI (Drinking While Impaired) charges in the state of North Carolina.  In that article, it was mentioned that when found guilty of DWI charges in the state, you have to complete a substance use assessment.  Based on the assessment, following the American Society of Addiction Medicine criteria you would either be given a diagnosis or not.  If you are not given a diagnosis, you will be directed to an educational program called ADETS.  In this article, I will provide you an insight on ADETS, its curriculum (Prime for life and PRI), how to get started amidst other things.


What is ADETS?

ADETS stands for Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School. It is an educational and training program for individuals or groups that have been convicted for DWI charges and have not been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder but, are at risk of such disorders.  Individuals that have lost or had their driving license suspended are required to participate in this program in order to get them back.  These classes are led by substance abuse counsellors, that educate the students on the risks and consequences involved in abusing drugs and alcohol.

Since its participants are not diagnosed but are at a risk of it, the classes educates them through medical facts on the consequences of drugs and alcohol misuse. This process brings about changes in their mentality and attitudes towards drugs and alcohol.  Additionally, the 16 hours classes reduces the repetition of DWI related offences and brings about change in the choices of its participant; enabling them to make better decisions in the future.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2017, 37,133 people died in traffic crashes nationwide.  An estimated 10,874 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, involving a drunk driver with an illegal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.08% or greater.  This accounts for 29% of the total vehicle traffic fatalities nationwide.

People are killed or harmed in one way and another every day, by a driver driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  As a result, the principal goal of the ADETS program is to significantly prevent and reduce the number of accidents, injuries and harm in general, caused by people who drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

The ADETS classes makes use of a specially prepared curriculum to educate its participants called Prime for life.  It is the only approved curriculum for ADETS in North Carolina and it is designed to be client-centered and comprehensive.


Prime for Life

Prime for life is an evidence-based motivational prevention, intervention and pre-treatment program designed for people who might be making high risk choices.  This includes people charged with alcohol and/or drug offences.  Its goal is to change drinking and drug use behaviour by changing beliefs, attitudes, risk perceptions, motivations, and the knowledge of how to reduce their risk of alcohol and drug related problems throughout their lives.

The prime for life program is well prepared to meet the needs of a diverse audience and as such, it is not specific to people who are substance abusers or at the risk of it alone.  The program has a prevention component for people without any known increased risk factors.  This component is for people who might just need risk reduction information.  For instance, an incoming freshman at a university has a tendency to start abusing drugs and/or alcohol, as a result of the exposure he/she will definitely face in school.

The Prime for life program offers a judgement free atmosphere that enables the participants open up and inwardly examine how their choices are affecting their lives.  At these classes, the students feel engaged and comfortable in sharing their thoughts, feelings and self-reflections.  This self-reflections helps the participants to identify their risk levels and current phase of alcohol and drug use.  They learn how their choices in life, based on external influences and their personal decisions affect their life.  These classes are deliberate and are not rushed.  This gives them enough time to absorb and process the information they are provided with.

Prime for life is a program designed by the Prevention Research Institute (PRI).  The PRI researches and develops programs to reduce drug problems.  The institute uses a range of techniques including research consistent with motivational interviewing and a trans-theoretical model of behavioural change, and offers programs integrating new therapies.  Its mission is to reduce the incidence of alcohol and drug related problems throughout the world.

How to get started for ADETS

When convicted for DWI charges in North Carolina, you may have your driver’s license suspended.  Following the laws of the state, you’ll be ordered by the court to go through the process of DWI assessment.  This assessment determines the level of treatment you will be required to complete in order to reinstate your full driving privileges.  If you are not diagnosed, you’ll be referred to an educational program; ADETS.

At the Behavioral Health Intervention Center in Charlotte, we offer judgment free Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS) and Drug Education programs, using the Prime for life curriculum conveniently on weekends and evenings.  We customize our programs to fit all schedules because we don’t want the process of getting your license back or fulfilling court requirements to cost you time off work or out of school.  All ADETS drug and alcohol abuse participants at our Charlotte facility must be referred by a substance abuse assessor.  However, the DWI education client must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible for ADETS at our facility:

  • A showing of no substance abuse handicap from the assessment
  • Must be the first DWI charge
  • A Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .14 or less on the breathalyser
  • Proof of referral into ADETS from the DWI substance abuse assessor
  • The cost of the program which is state regulated at $160.00

With three different locations in Charlotte, all you have to do is call to book an appointment today.  If you or someone you know in the Charlotte area needs the Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS) program, please contact the Behvaioral Health Intervention Center at (704)-458-9292 for inquiries or to book an appointment.

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