Unit prevention leader: More than 'just a pee collector'
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Students practice the processes of a urinalysis test during the Army Substance Abuse Program Unit Prevention Leader Certification Course, June 9.

The four-day course, hosted at the Soldier Support Center on Fort Bragg, includes learning about resources available to service members and information from Criminal Investigation Division, and legal about local drug trends and laws dealing with illegal substances. The course also provides policy and regulation expertise, hands-on collection processes, identifying tampered samples, education about quality control, and computer software familiarity.

(U.S. Army Photo by Sharilyn Wells/Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Sharilyn Wells)
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Unit prevention leader: More than ‘just a pee collector’
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A student adds an identification tag to a sample cup for a practice urinalysis test during the Army Substance Abuse Program Unit Prevention Leader Certification Course, June 9. The four-day course, hosted at the Soldier Support Center on Fort Bragg, includes learning about resources available to service members and information from Criminal Investigation Division, and legal about local drug trends and laws dealing with illegal substances. The course also provides policy and regulation expertise, hands-on collection processes, identifying tampered samples, education about quality control, and computer software familiarity. (U.S. Army Photo by Sharilyn Wells/Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Sharilyn Wells) VIEW ORIGINAL
Unit prevention leader: More than ‘just a pee collector’
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Fort Bragg Army Substance Abuse Program Unit Prevention Leader Certification Course is a four-day course, hosted at the Soldier Support Center, includes learning about resources available to service members and information from Criminal Investigation Division, and legal about local drug trends and laws dealing with illegal substances. The course also provides policy and regulation expertise, hands-on collection processes, identifying tampered samples, education about quality control, and computer software familiarity. (U.S. Army Photo by Sharilyn Wells/Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Sharilyn Wells) VIEW ORIGINAL
Unit prevention leader: More than ‘just a pee collector’
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A student maintains control of sample cups for a practice urinalysis test during the Army Substance Abuse Program Unit Prevention Leader Certification Course, June 9. The four-day course, hosted at the Soldier Support Center on Fort Bragg, includes learning about resources available to service members and information from Criminal Investigation Division, and legal about local drug trends and laws dealing with illegal substances. The course also provides policy and regulation expertise, hands-on collection processes, identifying tampered samples, education about quality control, and computer software familiarity. (U.S. Army Photo by Sharilyn Wells/Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Sharilyn Wells) VIEW ORIGINAL
Unit prevention leader: More than ‘just a pee collector’
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Fort Bragg Army Substance Abuse Program Unit Prevention Leader Certification Course is a four-day course, hosted at the Soldier Support Center, includes learning about resources available to service members and information from Criminal Investigation Division, and legal about local drug trends and laws dealing with illegal substances. The course also provides policy and regulation expertise, hands-on collection processes, identifying tampered samples, education about quality control, and computer software familiarity. (U.S. Army Photo by Sharilyn Wells/Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Sharilyn Wells) VIEW ORIGINAL
Unit prevention leader: More than ‘just a pee collector’
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Students practice the processes of a urinalysis test during the Army Substance Abuse Program Unit Prevention Leader Certification Course, June 9. The four-day course, hosted at the Soldier Support Center on Fort Bragg, includes learning about resources available to service members and information from Criminal Investigation Division, and legal about local drug trends and laws dealing with illegal substances. The course also provides policy and regulation expertise, hands-on collection processes, identifying tampered samples, education about quality control, and computer software familiarity. (U.S. Army Photo by Sharilyn Wells/Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Sharilyn Wells) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BRAGG, NC ¬¬– The low rumble of conversation filled the classroom as each small group of future unit prevention leaders rehearsed each step of the urinalysis test they will eventually administer to their units. As the second to last phase of their training was ending, each student prepared for the written test that would seal the deal for them becoming unit prevention leaders.

“Each Soldier that completes our UPL Certification Course becomes their unit’s in-house expert on alcohol and drug prevention,” said Melvin Nowling, Fort Bragg Army Substance Abuse Program prevention chief. “I think of them as equivalent to a nutritionist for a sports team. Just as the nutritionist is responsible in keeping the team’s athletes healthy, the UPL is responsible in keeping his or her Soldiers healthy - physically and mentally.”

ASAP hosts its UPL Certification Course monthly at the Soldier Support Center to ensure each unit has a primary and a secondary service member qualified to administer substance abuse annual training. The UPL is also responsible to guarantee that 10 percent of the unit is drug tested monthly. This ensures that all service members are tested at least once by the end of the fiscal year.

The four-day course includes learning about resources available to service members and information from Criminal Investigation Division, and legal about local drug trends and laws dealing with illegal substances.

“What’s great about the course is when they link up with some of these resources, they have a wide variety of options,” said Katrina Kilmartin-Baucom, Fort Bragg ASAP prevention coordinator. “We try to empower the UPLs to come check out equipment, ask us what kind of slides we’d use for a certain topic, and encourage them to include training during safety stand downs or organizational days. We are happy to share and support the UPLs to provide that for their units.”

Kilmartin-Baucom added that the prevention coordinators pride themselves on having a quick turnaround time and try to accommodate every request received, even last minute requests if able.

The course also provides policy and regulation expertise, hands-on collection processes, identifying tampered samples, education about quality control, and computer software familiarity.

“We really try to equip the UPLs,” said Nowling. “They’re not just be the ‘pee collectors’ – as they like to call themselves – but also informed, professional prevention experts. UPLs are an extension of (ASAP) who understand the importance of his or her additional duties.”

According to Army Regulation 600-85, substance abuse contributes to high-risk behaviors, runs counter to the Army Values and erodes personal readiness. When administered appropriately, through engaged and empowered leadership, ASAP supports building personal readiness, resilience and optimizes performance.

UPLs, by regulation, are officers or non-commissioned officers (E-5 and above) who have been certified through the UPL Certification Course. UPLs are responsible in employing random drug testing that varies frequency and periodicity.

Each unit is required to have two certified UPLs on appointment orders signed by the commander. Battalion prevention leaders are the battalion commander’s subject matter experts on ASAP who meets the same criteria as a UPL. However, BPLs are also responsible in providing supervision, understanding inspection requirements, and providing technical guidance to UPLs.

BPLs are a requirement by Army regulation, but Fort Bragg seems to be lacking the support needed to meet the standard possibly due to the high turnover rate for many installation units – which causes difficulties in keeping BPLs in their positions.

“I’m convinced if we found a battle rhythm to keep BPLs in place and do their jobs professionally and effectively, we would have one of the best drug testing programs in the Army,” said Nowling.

“We encourage commanders to plan for when they are going to gain or lose UPLs more closely, because only one service member per unit, per year can be signed up for the 40 student limit class,” added Kilmartin-Baucom. “If a unit loses both UPLs at the same time, we normally don’t have two hard slots available, but, we will work hard to get walk-ons as space is available for units that are in high need.”

ASAP prevention coordinators also encourage commanders to send motivated personnel who will embrace their role in substance use deterrence and prevention.

“You can tell a difference in his or her unit’s numbers – low numbers of DUIs, alcohol offenses, drug test positives, etc.,” said Kilmartin-Baucom. “Having the right person in the right role definitely makes a positive impact and benefits the unit as a whole.”

The UPL Course aims to expand the knowledge and emphasize the importance of deterrence of substance use, in order to change the negative perception that substance testing is only used as way to kick a service member out of the military.

“We really do enjoy helping the students understand the real mission and purpose of drug testing,” said Kilmartin-Baucom. “In essence, drug testing is about deterrence and that prevention naturally enforces a drug-free environment which maintains the unit and personnel readiness. At the very end of the day these Soldiers are prevention advocates.”

The UPL Course is available for active-duty and reserve service members, Reserve Officers’ Training Corp cadets and Department of the Army civilians. To enroll in the next class, contact ASAP directly at 910-396-4100.

For more information about ASAP, go to https://home.army.mil/bragg/index.php/my-fort-bragg/all-services/army-substance-abuse-program.