Sometimes what one cannot see are nothing more than cleverly hidden items right in front of one’s eyes, as one group of commanders and first sergeants recently learned.
Fort Gordon’s Army Substance and Abuse Program conducted a Hidden in Plain Sight training session on Oct. 28. The primary purpose of the training was to teach command teams how and what to look for when searching for contraband, educate them on drugs trending on the installation, and ensure they understand the definition and parameters of probable cause for conducting searches.
Using a mock barracks room set up by members of a Resiliency Working Group, special agents with the Fort Gordon Criminal Investigation Division hid drug paraphernalia and other contraband around the room. Command teams were then challenged with locating the items, which were typically hidden in unsuspecting household items.
Karen Abraham, Risk Reduction Program coordinator, ASAP, said the training is typically held following the completion of the Commander/First Sergeant Course and addresses senior command priorities.
“When we have the CR2C (Commander’s Readiness and Resiliency Council) that’s given every quarter, we identify any high risks, and then we have subject matter experts that provide recommendations to the senior commander of how to decrease those rates,” Abraham explained.
Hidden in Plain Sight training is one of the ways to actively address high risk behaviors including drug use. The training also addresses drug trends, which change often.
“Things change, drugs change, and Soldiers find new ways to use and hide them,” Abraham said. “Having those command teams know that something could be right there in sight – right in front of your eyes – and you not knowing that the Soldier is using – that’s the whole point of it.”
With holiday block leave fast approaching, taking a proactive approach now is especially important.
“Rates tend to go up during holiday block leave when the Soldiers leave then come back, so we’re preparing those command teams to know what to look for when their Soldiers return so they can inspect their rooms and make sure there’s nothing hidden in plain sight.” Abraham said.
Service members who are caught with contraband may be reprimanded under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Service members may also receive help under Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care (SUDCC). SUDCC is a program that uses a multi-disciplinary approach to treat and provide Soldiers, family members and Army civilians the resources and support they need to overcome drug abuse.
“Soldiers have option to self-refer to SUDCC, but if incident occurs, command must refer them,” Abraham said.
The next Hidden in Plain Sight training will be held in March. Leaders who would like to participate in similar or receive additional training may reach out to Abraham at Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It was an eye-opener for them,” she said.