December: Responsible Alcohol Use Month

  • Published
  • By Capt. Alysia Harvey and Kim Smith
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force recognizes the month of December as Responsible Alcohol Use month, and it's likely no coincidence this month was selected given the various social events people find themselves attending during the holiday season.

Drinking responsibly doesn't mean the military community cannot enjoy frothy, bubbly beverages in celebration during this time of year, but it does mean people should know their limits and not exceed them.

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program can help individuals learn to do just that by showing them how to make positive choices regarding substance use and abuse.

The ADAPT program office at RAF Lakenheath services RAFs Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Feltwell, and its mission can be summed up as promoting readiness and health wellness through prevention, treatment and comprehensive education.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, in many respects, it is a matter of safety," said Capt. Junior Hoopes, a Family Advocacy officer assigned to the 48th Medical Operations Squadron. "The Air Force is committed to helping anyone with alcohol issues regardless of whether they are active duty or not."

He went on to say ADAPT only sees active duty members, but military dependents who are having issues with alcohol go through Tri-Care and are seen by an off-base provider.

"We not only have a commitment to helping the active duty population, but also for protecting all of the dependents on and off base," said Captain Hoopes. "Identifying individuals with either drug or alcohol issues makes our military communities a safer place to be not only for active duty personnel but also their family members."

Maj. Dane Campbell, the Behavioral Health Flight commander in the 48th Medical Operations Squadron, chimed in saying that in many respects, substance abuse is a matter of safety, and as such the ADAPT program staff takes every opportunity to be in the community talking about the consequences of poor decisions in this area.

"Our greatest fear is that someone will seriously injure or even kill themselves and /or others due to drunk driving, other accidents or someone drinking himself to death," said Major Campbell. "That's why prevention and intervention are keys to attacking problems with substance abuse."

ADAPT is not a place people are sent as punishment. It's actually a helping agency no different from other clinics in the hospital,

"From my experience, what helps make this program successful is when individuals who have issues with alcohol realize that going to ADAPT isn't punishment," said Captain Hoopes. "Once the individuals realize we are here to help, and they buy into the program, we see the most success."

Captain Hoopes went on to say it's also beneficial when commanders and first sergeants help their Airmen through the whole ADAPT process, and Major Campbell reiterated the fact that prevention is the best method.

"People can inform themselves and avoid and prevent problems with substances in a myriad of ways, such as asking for help," said Major Campbell. "However, if someone has an alcohol-related incident, we have an opportunity to intervene personally to try and help them develop better tools in decision making in hopes those incidents aren't repeated."

Captain Hoopes enjoys being able to help fellow Airmen dealing with substance abuse, and is proud serve in the Air Force where leadership goes to such lengths to educate and assist people in this regard.

"You will be hard pressed to find companies in the civilian world that will help rehab you if you are having issues with alcohol," said Captain Hoopes.