The North Dakota National Guard has partnered with the states of New Jersey and New Mexico to pilot the use of Prime For Life® and MyPrime® to provide targeted early intervention to service members who, for a known reason, are at risk of developing substance-related problems.
Supported by the National Guard Bureau’s Warrior Resilience & Fitness Division’s Innovation Incubator, the states involved will utilize the flexibility of educational formats, ranging from four to 16 hours, to provide universal, selected and indicated audiences with substance-related prevention education and in some instances will serve as their Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Training.
The WRFII aims to identify, evaluate, select, and disseminate evidence-based practices across the National Guard to promote resilience and prevent harmful behaviors. Selected pilots receive funding and technical assistance to implement their programs and evaluate effectiveness. Currently, WRFII is supporting 27 pilots across 34 states, territories, and Washington, D.C.
Prime For Life® provides an evidenced-based, motivational, judgment-free way of understanding how alcohol and drug-related problems develop, what can be done to prevent them, and why sometimes service members need help. MyPrime® is an online, self-led, personalized version of Prime For Life®. These two programs are similar in many ways - the science that has gone into developing them, and the time it takes to complete them. Both programs aim to change drinking and drug use behaviors by helping participants learn to reduce their risk of alcohol- and drug-related problems throughout a lifetime. The main difference is that one is designed to be experienced in a classroom with an instructor, and the other is designed to be experienced online.
The NDNG is in the unique position of partnering with the North Dakota Department of Human Services- Division of Behavioral Health. This partnership has created the possibility of exception to state policy, allowing NDNG service members to utilize MyPrime® to meet state mandates associated with the completion of an early intervention education course for civilian substance-related legal problems such as Driving Under the Influence and Minor in Possession of Alcohol convictions.
Piloting states are actively working with the WRFII to finalize metrics utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of both Prime For Life® and MyPrime® for NG service members. These service members often face unique challenges in comparison to their Active Duty counterparts, including geographic dispersion, significant time between drill activities, healthcare eligibility, and accessing resources across the 54 states, territories, and D.C. The piloting state’s overarching goal is to assist in gaining a targeted solution that mitigates risk and promotes evidence-based prevention strategies for NG service members.
Editor’s Note: The contents of the article are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the Department of Army, the National Guard Bureau, or the North Dakota National Guard.