Substance abuse as seen from my foxhole

| December 5, 2014 | 0 Comments


Spc. Taniah L. Burford
311th Signal Command (Theater)

FORT SHAFTER — Soldiers are not immune to the substance use problems prevalent in our society.

While illicit drug use is lower among U.S. military personnel than among civilians, heavy alcohol use, tobacco and especially prescription drugs are much more prevalent and on the rise among all of the armed services.

Some abuse can be attributed to the stresses of deployments, direct and indirect combat, and ineffective leadership. The unique culture and high stress environment of the military that we experience also contributes to this trend.

Leaders find it difficult to identify and treat substance abuse within their ranks due to zero tolerance, shame and lack of established unit policies. Soldiers tend to avoid seeking treatment and help due to the lack of confidentiality others have experienced in the past.

Now, more than ever, involved leaders, co-workers, friends and Soldiers must “Take a STAND!” to help change our culture and spread the word about the Army’s new efforts to help all Soldiers and their families.

The Army must fervently identify those at greatest risk of developing substance abuse problems and provide the help that they desperately need. Tolerating or knowing your battle buddy has an issue, but doing nothing about it, is no longer acceptable. By using assertive tact and words of conviction and care when engaging our teammates, we can guide afflicted Soldiers to enter the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP).

ASAP is an outstanding solution to help combat substance abuse on many levels. The goal is to strengthen the overall fitness and effectiveness of the Army’s workforce and to conserve manpower and enhance combat readiness of Soldiers.

This resource, and devoted teams of caring Soldiers at the Army and unit levels, is dedicated to combating this widely misunderstood problem.

What is substance abuse?

Generally, it can be defined as overindulgence in, or dependence on, an addictive substance such as alcohol or drugs.

It is important to note that drugs are not the only substances prohibited by the armed forces. Mood-altering matter, such as inhalants, solvents, caffeine, tobacco and more can be abused.

Abuse is a harmful usage pattern of any mood-altering substance that can be directly or indirectly linked to frequent and serious problems.

Unfortunately, these problems negatively impact individual and group performances at school, work and home. Due to the serious impacts of their actions, many substance abusers have trouble with the law or authority figures.




(Note: Burford works in Personnel at 311th Sig. Cmd.)

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Category: News, Take a Stand!

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