Army Substance Abuse Program

By Army Public AffairsAugust 2, 2007

The Army has institutionalized service-wide programs dealing with alcohol and drug abuse prevention, education, training and treatment and has recently launched an Army-wide chain teaching program to educate Soldiers and Family Members on behavioral health issues facing Soldiers returning from combat operations.

The Army randomly tests Soldiers for use of illicit/unauthorized drugs on a regular basis and, on average, has maintained a 98 percent "clean" rate on tested samples over the last 20 years, including the periods of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This means 2 percent or less of samples test positive for illicit drugs and the Army has maintained this average while fighting the Global War on Terrorism.

The Army leadership is proactively taking steps to mitigate the impact of challenges faced by Soldiers and families while the Nation is at war.

This improved support is being provided to Army Families, Soldiers, and Civilians affiliated with the active Army, National Guard and Reserve units. These services are installation-based, community-based, and offered in a virtual environment to ensure that all receive needed help before, during and after deployment.

Key Points

Aca,!Ac The Army educates and trains all leaders and Soldiers to provide awareness of causes/symptoms of drug abuse and other behavioral health issues and where to seek treatment and counseling. There has been a concerted effort put forth to erase the stigma associated with seeking behavioral health care to insure Soldiers receive the care they need.

Aca,!Ac The Army's policies and programs ensure early identification of substance abuse. The Army conducts routine/random testing to ensure compliance with the Army Substance Abuse Program; commanders can also institute stricter testing at the unit level. Early identification allows for early intervention and treatment so Soldiers can return to productive careers.

Aca,!Ac The Army program ensures access to care for all Soldiers. A broad interconnected suite of treatment programs and services are available.

Aca,!Ac Leaders will Support Soldiers to the highest degree possible, and will address each situation on its merits. However, substance abuse will not be tolerated in the Army. Every effort is made to help a Soldier rehabilitate. Sometimes separation is necessary based on Army regulation.

Aca,!Ac Programs are in place to help Soldiers who separate from the Army make a successful transition to a productive life in the civilian sector.

The Army's goal is to provide each Soldier with the best care possible; every Soldier's case is different, and we must have a system that is flexible enough to address each with dignity and compassion. We are committing resources, reducing bureaucracy, disseminating information to Soldiers and Families and increasing the number of Case Managers to improve Soldier health and well being.