On Thursday, the nation was transfixed as the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault by Ford and a number of other females when they were in high school and college. All of the complaints say that Kavanaugh was extremely inebriated at the time. However, when Kavanaugh was asked about his drinking habits he became very defensive and refused to answer the questions, although he did admit to on occasion drinking too much and liking beer. At all costs, he had to deny his alcoholism, if he suffered from it, because that would lead to questions of whether he drank to the extent of experiencing blackouts, a symptom of heavy drinking, where the person has no memory of their conduct while drunk. If he experienced blackouts, then his denials would be much less credible. Although the senators’ questions for the most part avoided touching on his alcoholism, it appears evident that his alcoholism or lack is central to the case.
In drunk driving cases, all clients represented by attorney Leonard Stamm are referred to a program approved by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to determine if the client has a drinking problem and to receive an appropriate level of education and treatment. A directory of programs nationwide can be found here.
Clients are assessed to determine if they have a drinking problem using a number of psychological screening tests. The most well known is probably the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test also known as the MAST test. Clients are give a score based on their answers. A higher score indicates a likely drinking problem. Other tests include the Alcohol Use Disorders Test or AUDIT test.