Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What is it?

Alcohol and substance abuse are preventable. The Army is shifting towards a proactive, holistic prevention model to focus on strengthening Soldiers and engaging at the earliest signs of alerts.

The Army’s efforts to prevent alcohol and substance abuse include:

  • Awareness - Increase knowledge of the impact to Soldier performance.
  • Deterrence - Encourage good decision making.
  • Education - Increase understanding of effects and how to initiate peer-to-peer discussion.
  • Prevention - Implement measures to establish and maintain the environment for positive behaviors.
  • Assistance - Provide support to those who self-identify.
  • Rehabilitation - Administer treatment and care.

What has the Army done?

A working group was established to complete a review and assessment of the Army’s substance abuse prevention core functions. This comprehensive review encompassed policy and program objectives; program design; program efficacy; staffing and resources; and organization alignment.

The Army completed a review of its alcohol and substance abuse prevention efforts in September 2015 and determined that it was implementing a comprehensive program to prevent and control the abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs, and the use of illicit drugs.

The same review also identified opportunities to increase efficiencies and effectiveness, which the Army is now incorporating into a revised Army Regulation for publishing no later than May 1, 2017.

What continued efforts are planned for the future?

A two-year transformation process is underway to improve overall care and holistically enhance the Army’s efforts to prevent alcohol and substance abuse. Changes in policies and procedures will provide more opportunities for early intervention for alcohol misuse and abuse and drug misuse. These changes will also help break down structural and social barriers that typically inhibit individuals from accessing care.

Why is this important to the Army?

Personal Readiness is critical to unit and mission readiness and requires that every member of the Army team be ready and deployable. The abuse of alcohol and drugs is a major threat to personal readiness and mission accomplishment. The Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign strengthens personal readiness by increasing awareness, deterring the abuse of alcohol and illegal drug use, providing education, and fostering prevention, assistance, and rehabilitation with regard to substance abuse.

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