Lindsay Lohan reached a plea agreement on Thursday, stemming from misdemeanor drunken driving and cocaine charges, that will land her 1 day in jail. Lohan also received 36 months probation, 10 days of community service and is required to complete an 18-month alcohol education program, a drug treatment program, and pay hundreds of dollars in fines. Lohan must also complete a 3 day county coroner program in which she’ll visit a morgue and talk to victims of drunken drivers.
In a statement released by her publicist Lohan said, “It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs.” The statement continued, “No matter what I said when I was under the influence on the day I was arrested, I am not blaming anyone else for my conduct other than myself. I thank God I did not injure others. I easily could have.”
Also on Thursday, pregnant reality television star Nicole Richie served 82 minutes of jail time as the result of a 4 day sentence for driving under the influence of drugs. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, arrestees sentenced to 30 days or less for a nonviolent offense are usually released within 12 hours due to jail overcrowding.
The legal problems of Lohan and Richie come on the heels of the much-publicized jailing of Paris Hilton after she was found guilty of driving on a suspended license while on probation for an alcohol-related reckless-driving case.
With these female celebrities in the news for alcohol- and drug-related offenses, it’s important for women’s treatment programs, like Crossroads for Women, to educate people about the insidious effects of alcohol and drugs on women and girls. Here are some interesting findings from the book Women Under the Influence by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University:
- In 2002, approximately 67% of women arrestees tested positive for illicit drugs – mostly cocaine and marijuana – and 21% had used multiple drugs.
- Three-quarters of female inmates are mothers of at least one child; between 4% – 15% are pregnant when they enter prison.
- Drinking before the age of 15 quadruples the likelihood of becoming alcohol dependent.
- Drinking before the age of 21 more than doubles the likelihood of developing alcohol-related problems.
- Chronic heavy drinking can precipitate menstrual disorders such as heavy flow, painful periods and irregular cycles. Even moderate drinking can contribute to infertility in women, and the more alcohol a woman consumes, the greater her risk of infertility and miscarriages. Also, heavy drinking can increase the risk of premature menopause.
- Alcohol is associated more closely with crimes of sexual violence than any other drug; it is implicated in as many as 73% of all rapes and 70% of all incidents of domestic violence. It is linked to more incidences of violence than illicit drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and PCP.
- 72% of women who abuse alcohol have had at least one episode of mental illness, compared to 57% of men. The rates of mental illness are even higher for women diagnosed as alcohol dependent.
Alcoholism, Women and Lindsay Lohan