Arkansas Program for Hispanic DWI Offenders Recognizes Differences

BENTONVILLE, AR - Emmanuel Flores of Bentonville says the court-ordered alcohol safety programs he teaches require some modifications when the students who have been convicted of driving while intoxicated are Hispanic.  He says the big difference is that, in many Latin American countries, there aren't any laws setting a legal drinking age, and laws about drinking and driving are rarely enforced.

In his program, Flores explains in Spanish how much alcohol it takes to get a person drunk and that being sick or stressed can get a person drunk faster.  He also explains Arkansas laws on drinking and driving, and tries to dispel cultural myths that he says some Hispanics believe about alcohol.  Flores says some believe eating an onion will make them sober, or drinking tequila is a cure for a cold.

Flores is an instructor for Decision Point, a Bentonville-based rehabilitation center contracted by the state Department of Human Services to provide the program for the courts.

The state has 14 alcohol safety-education programs, including the five that are taught in Spanish.

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