MADD mission aims to stop drinking and driving, help the victim |

MADD mission aims to stop drinking and driving, help the victim

Andrea PorcelainPost Independent Intern

During a time of family gathering and celebration, it is especially hard to mourn the loss of a loved one whose death could have been prevented.In recognition of National Drunk and Drugged Driving month in December, community members work together to prevent tragedies such as this in a group called MADD, Mothers against Drunk Driving.”It’s not just mothers, it’s grandparents, fathers, brothers, co-workers survivors, anyone whose life has been dramatically changed by a drunk driving accident,” said Pam Overbecke, part of MADD Colorado in Colorado Springs, which also oversees the Glenwood Springs area. The organization is not only active across Colorado, but throughout the country. Established about 25 years ago, MADD has now spread across the United States – making a big impact along the way.Mothers against Drunk Driving was part of establishing the drinking age at 21, as well as a 7 percent drop in fatality crashes with alcohol involved since its establishment.In Colorado, the state office in Denver is dealing with judicial issues related to alcohol and driving in the Centennial state.”We have just elected our first male president,” Overbecke said. “His son was killed in a drunk-driving crash.”Victim Impact Panels with MADD are assigned by a court, or are for volunteer purposes. These two-hour classes for people whose lives have been dramatically changed by a drunk driving accident show statistics as well as videos. They are able to talk about their stories as well as listen to survivor testimonies.”Our mission is to stop drinking and driving as well as help the victims,” Overbecke said.A K-12 education program – run by MADD – educates children as young as 6 about the impact alcohol has on a developing body. The program also is run in youth detention centers and middle schools, hosting trained speakers to talk to kids about drunken driving.”We want to emphasize the education of youth about drinking and the effect alcohol has when the body isn’t fully developed. Most youth do not understand this,” Overbecke said.Overbecke also emphasizes the impact MADD has, and hopefully will have, on society.”We have absolutely made an impact, but we still lose too many,” Overbecke said. To help MADD, to refer an organization or individual which could benefit from the group’s services, call the Colorado Springs office at (719) 380-8673.

• Alcohol is society’s legal, oldest and most popular drug.• The speed of alcohol absorption affects the rate at which one becomes drunk. Unlike foods, alcohol does not have to be slowly digested.• As a person drinks faster than the alcohol can be eliminated, the drug accumulates in the body, resulting in higher and higher levels of alcohol in the blood.Source: Narcotic Educational Foundation of America

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