Programs such as VIPs usually last about an hour and consist of friends, relatives or victims themselves sharing with a group of DUI or DWI offenders the tragic outcomes of alcohol and drug-related traffic crashes.
The concept of the Putnam County VIP is not to point fingers or to place blame, rather it is an effort to raise awareness and change the thinking and behaviors of those present. These events can be highly emotional as some may include descriptive details and pictures.
Organizers hope the event will "make the risk real," and offenders will pledge to never drive while impaired again.
The main objective for this program is to aid the victims in their grieving process by allowing them a platform for their thoughts, feelings and concerns. Potentially, this may help bring closure for the victim and influence changing the behavior of those convicted of DUI offenses.
The panel makeup will include four speakers. The panel typically begins with a law enforcement officer providing information and statistics, followed by a testimony from the victim. Then a sober recovering addict or alcoholic will share his or her experience, strength and hope. In closing will be a discussion with a local drug and alcohol counselor and a question and answer period.
Members of the community who have been a victim of an alcohol or drug related crash and would be willing to share approximately 15 minutes of their story are encouraged to call Putnam County Alcohol and Drug at 653-4993 and schedule an appointment with a Putnam County VIP board member.
The program is free due to a $2,500 grant from the Putnam County P.I.E. Coalition. It is not open to the general public.