Drunk Driving and Antabus

Reduced prison sentences for drunk drivers in Finland who will take a drug that inhibits their urge to drink

July 16, 2009

Serial drunk driving offenders could be offered reduced prison sentences if they agree to take drugs that inhibit their thirst for alcohol. This is an extension of a Justice Ministry proposal to let sexual offenders out early if they swallow libido-quashing drugs.

The working group that put the proposal together believes that annually five to ten inmates would be eligible for early release through this plan.

Chief physician in charge of psychiatric prisons Hannu Lauerma told the newspaper Ilkka that the medication-for-freedom deal could work even with the worst drunk driving offenders. He suggests that the drug Antabuse could be used. Antabuse, and its generic form disulfiram, causes people who drink any alcohol to suffer severe and near-immediate hangovers.

These types of drugs suppress testosterone production, and have a small risk of causing infertility in men. The proposal includes the stipulation that any inmate wanting to take the deal would have to be carefully screened for potential medical complications.

Ilkka reports that police catch 70 drunk drivers every day, many of whom are repeat offenders.