Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Prime for Life



Implementer: Prevention Research Institute (PRI)


Program Overview: Prime for Life is a motivation-enhancing (ME) program for offenders who have operated under the influence (OUI).

Program Design: This is a group-based program delivered in a 20-hour format, typically over a 3-day period (Friday through Sunday). Content delivery is based on ME principles, and protocols and instructor training place a strong emphasis on the use of motivational rather than confrontational instructor behaviors.

-It incorporates three elements of empirically supported practices: (a) establishing collaboration, (b) diffusing resistance, and (c) providing clear direction. It attempts to increase perception of personal risk for negative consequences resulting from drug use and high-risk drinking. The goal is to help motivate the participant to reduce consumption and thereby avoid negative health, relationship, legal, and vocational consequences from alcohol or drug use.

Evaluation: Three year re-arrest rates were compared among 12,267 individuals in Maine receiving either the Prime for Life program or a standard care (SC) program that preceded it.

-Two cohorts were created, one when Maine used SC (9/1/1999-8/31/2000) and one after the ME program was implemented (9/1/2002-8/31/2003).

Key findings: ME compared to SC program completers had lower re-arrest rates (7.4% versus 9.9%); the ME program would need to treat 40 participants in order to avoid one repeated arrest that would have occurred in the SC program.

            -For those re-arrested, time to re-arrest did not differ between ME and SC cohorts.

-Among those required to have substance abuse treatment in addition to the compared interventions, ME and SC arrest rates did not differ for younger individuals (aged 18-39); otherwise, the ME cohort’s lower re-arrest rates occurred across gender, age, having a previous OUI, and having completed a previous intervention program.

Program Website: http://www.primeforlife.org/


Beadnell, B., Crisafulli, M.A., Stafford, P.A., Rosengren, D.B., DiClemente, C.C. (2015). Operating under the influence: three year recidivism rates for motivation-enhancing versus standard care programs. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 80, 48-56.

Robertson, A., Gardner, S., Xu, X., & Costello, H. (2009). The impact of remedial intervention on 3-year recidivism among first-time DUI offenders in Mississippi. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 41(5), 1080-1086.

Target Audience: Drink driving offenders
Issues: Drinking and Driving
Setting: Remedial Drink Driving Programs
Approach: Screening and Brief Intervention
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