ADAPT counters substance abuse with treatment, education



by Kimberly L. Wright

10/22/2010 - Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala  -- 
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program promotes readiness among servicemembers by educating them on the dangers of substance abuse.

ADAPT also takes part in educational programs and displays to prevent abuse problems before they start. As part of Red Ribbon Week, celebrated Saturday through Oct. 31, representatives from ADAPT and the 42nd Air Base Wing's Drug Demand Reduction program will visit Maxwell Elementary School to get the antidrug message out to children and their parents.

They also plan a crash-car display during the holiday season to encourage people not to drink and drive.

ADAPT also treats those active-duty Air Force members, members of the Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard when activated longer than 30 days who encounter the problem of addiction, offering initial evaluations, outpatient treatment, inpatient treatment and aftercare.

Those who enter the treatment program can do so in a number of different ways.
"The best way is, of course, self referral," said Tech. Sgt. Mashawn Black of the ADAPT program.

The most common method is command directed.

"The other three possible ways include medical referral if medical personnel suspect a problem, investigation if someone is under investigation for substance misuse and drug testing if someone pops positive for illegal substances through Drug Demand Reduction."

According to AFI44-121, dated Sept. 26, 2001, the illegal or improper use of drugs "can lead to criminal prosecution resulting in a punitive discharge or administrative actions, including separation or discharge under other than honorable conditions."

Drug and alcohol abuse can have a reduced impact on a person's career if the member self-identifies.

"Most are referred after an incident happens, and that's where most people get in trouble," Sgt. Black said. Punishment related to the incident is a command decision. "ADAPT isn't punishment ... We are a tool the commanders use to identify if members have a problem that needs to be addressed."

ADAPT will determine if a member has a substance abuse problem by completing a computer-based evaluation using the Substance Abuse Assessment Tool and taking into account a counselor's assessment.

Those who are not diagnosed with a substance abuse problem will be given education consisting of one to two followups after the evaluation. "If there is a diagnosis of abuse or possible dependence, the member would receive outpatient treatment offered by this clinic."

Those with serious dependence can attend residential treatments offered in the community.

Treatment is conducted on a weekly basis until a member is cleared for aftercare. "Aftercare is sort of a maintenance phase where the member comes in at least once a month to ensure they are using the tools given during treatment," the sergeant said.

Outpatient is for individuals who need help but not constant monitoring. Inpatient treatment would mainly be used for members who need extra help and monitoring to stay sober.