ADAPT educates Airmen, changes lives
By Tyler Hemstreet , 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 04, 2007
MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- From binge drinking to drug abuse, the medical professionals at the base's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program have seen it all.
The program, which falls under the 62nd Medical Group's mental health flight, offers treatment to Airmen who have substance abuse problems to help them live healthy, fulfilling lives and be able to perform well on the job, said Senior Master Sgt. Henry Holguin, 62nd Medical Operations Squadron.
Doctors and commanders can refer Airmen to ADAPT because of specific incidents or if there is concern about a person's well being, Sergeant Holguin said.
Airmen may also voluntarily enroll in the program, he said.
Because the circumstances of each Airman's case is different, in June 2006 ADAPT became a part of an Air Force pilot program called Alcohol Brief Counseling.
The program, currently in use at 15 bases, was designed to take a new approach to substance abuse education for Airmen by tailoring the education to each situation, said Staff Sgt. Charleen Jones, 62nd MDOS noncommissioned officer in charge of the program.
"We provide evaluations and treatment, but we're striving to be more proactive than reactive," Sergeant Jones said. "We want them to know that we're here to help them, not to punish them."
In the past, Airmen had to sit through a mandatory six-hour seminar addressing their substance abuse.
Now they can receive their education in one or two brief sessions. The individual sessions are tailored specifically to the member to assist in the development of customized goals, said Lt. Col. Carl Rohbock, 62nd MDOS.
"We're on the individuals' team," he said. "We want to provide them with the options and choices they have instead of lecturing them on the evils."
The goals Airmen set for themselves help them avoid further substance abuse related misconduct, Sergeant Jones said.
"It's about identifying what they want to accomplish to avoid the negative circumstances that come with the [substance] abuse," Colonel Rohbock said.
"We ask them, 'How do we make sure this doesn't happen again?'"
Because of the one-on-one contact the program offers, the odds increase that Airmen won't slip through the cracks during the treatment process, Colonel Rohbock said.
The program's new approach seems to be working, said ADAPT technician Staff Sgt. Natalie Lasher, 62nd MDOS.
"We're seeing more of an influx of self-referrals, which means we've helped reduce the stigma of the program a little bit," Sergeant Lasher said.
"The feedback [from Airmen] on the program has been positive and the recidivism rates are down."