FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 28, 2013) -- Alcohol Awareness Month is just around the corner and Army Substance Abuse Program officials want to make sure that Soldiers and civilians on Fort Rucker have the proper awareness and education about effects alcohol abuse can have on not just the individual, but those in their lives.

The Motorcycle Mentorship Ride April 19 and a presentation of "Rum and Vodka," a production to highlight the effects of alcohol, April 29 and 30, are two events that Lynn O'Brien, ASAP prevention coordinator, hopes will educate people on the adverse effects of alcohol abuse.

"Alcohol abuse is definitely an issue in the military, especially in today's environment, it can be a career ender," said O'Brien. "Most of our accidents, whether they're domestic, on the roads or on a motorcycle, alcohol seems to be a common denominator, so that's why the Army is putting forth the effort to try and prevent as much of that as possible."

One way that Fort Rucker is trying to educate on prevention and awareness is through the Motorcycle Mentorship Ride.

"The [ride] is a two-hour event coupled with alcohol and drug abuse training provided by the Alabama State Troopers Association," said O'Brien. "This event is an excellent way for participants to fulfill part of their annual requirement for prevention training."

Soldiers in the Army are required to complete four hours of prevention training annually and Army civilians are required to complete two hours annually, and participating in the ride completes one of those hours, she added.

The ride will depart from Wings Chapel at 1 p.m., but riders should be there no later than 12:30 p.m. to have their bikes inspected. Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, is slated to kick off the event.

From Wings Chapel, riders will head to Westgate Park in Dothan and back, and the event will encompass briefings on drug and alcohol awareness.

"One of the briefings will hit on drug abuse and misuse, because that's something we're seeing more and more of with prescription drugs," said the prevention coordinator. "But the [education] will focus mainly on alcohol and the effects it has, not only on those who operate most motor vehicles, like cars and trucks, but more specifically motorcycle riders."

O'Brien said she is surprised by the amount of people that are interested in the bike ride with about 90 participants already registered to participate, adding that they will most likely cap the amount of participants at 150 bikes.

The second event schedule is a mandatory briefing that Soldiers on the installation are required to attend, but ASAP is doing what they can to make it enjoyable as well as educational.

"Simply put, it's going to be two days of briefings during which we'll have a special guest come and do some alcohol awareness training," said O'Brien. "The actual title of the training is called 'Rum and Vodka,' and it's a play … that [encompasses] audience participation throughout the performance."

The play tells the story of a man whose life is falling apart due to alcohol abuse, and follows him as he goes on a "three-day bender" during which he nearly destroys his Family, she said.

Following the performance, there will be a panel discussion featuring responses by people who have endured the struggles of alcohol dependence and substance abuse, either themselves or through loved ones.

"It's a good way to combat drinking and the issues that come along with it, and it's something that Soldiers can really relate to based on how it's set," said O'Brien. "We're very lucky to get them to perform this here because it's very, very popular right now and they've a number of these alcohol awareness programs in deployed environments."

The briefings will be April 29 and 30 at the post theater, and there will be two sessions per day -- a morning briefing from 8-10 a.m., and afternoon briefing from 1-3 p.m., she said. Soldiers must register for the briefings and each briefing is limited to 650 people.

"These events will be great information briefs if nothing else -- it will heighten people's awareness," said O'Brien. "When there is a deficiency from a Soldier who is not 100 percent, it impairs the mission across the board and affects everyone, not just the individual, so this is for the wellbeing of our force as well as our Families."

For more information or to register for events, call 255-7509.

Page last updated Thu March 28th, 2013 at 00:00