By Ms. Ashley Fahle Gonzalez, SR2 Strategic CommunicationsOctober 22, 2019
The Department of Defense selected the Fort Carson Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) and Florida National Guard Counterdrug Civil Operations Program (FLNG-CDP) as recipients of the 29th Annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award. This award recognizes the best drug demand reduction programs across the DoD. U.S. Navy Captain Eric Welsh, from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, presented the awards during the Annual DoD Red Ribbon Week Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 17, 2019 in the Pentagon Hall of Heroes.
The Fort Carson ASAP, led by Mr. William Lana, capitalized on every opportunity to saturate the community with information and resources aimed at reducing the impact alcohol and drug abuse has on Soldiers, Families, Civilians, and Retirees. During 2018, they conducted over 315 classes and educated over 20,000 people. Additionally, by collaborating with Army leaders, business partners, and the community, the Fort Carson ASAP created a unified front to promote healthy lifestyles.
"We've got a truly amazing team of professionals here at Fort Carson--and not just within ASAP, but among all the agencies we partner with, both on and off the installation. Anytime we get this many people dedicated to one mission, we're bound to be successful," said Mr. Lana.
Recognizing the connection between suicide and substance abuse, the Fort Carson ASAP collaborated with the Fort Carson Suicide Prevention Program to host an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) Train the Trainer course. Once trained, the new trainers contributed to 11 ASIST classes, which trained over 270 people. The Fort Carson ASAP also facilitated several "Have a Hug Campaigns," which brought therapy dogs to units and facilities on the installation.
Aside from training and special events, the Fort Carson ASAP built relationships with their Command Teams, and ensured Commanders could access the Commander's Risk Reduction Dashboard. They processed over 7,000 Unit Risk Inventories and Reintegration Unit Risk Inventories; conducted over 100 Commander Consultations; provided monthly Risk Factor Summaries; and participated in deployment fairs and safety events. The program garnered trust and support from Commanders through their passion and dedication to their mission.
Similarly, the FLNG-CDP collaborated with community-based organizations throughout the state to help identify problems such as the lack of medication disposal services. To address this issue, they assisted in the planning and execution of Drug Enforcement Administration Drug Take Back sites, which collected over 2,000 pounds of unused medication in 2018. They also implemented educational programs, participated in community outreach panels, and helped integrate Overdose Mapping software into law enforcement and emergency services agencies. The success of their efforts is visible in the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey and the decline of drug overdose deaths in Florida.