People choose to drink alcohol for a variety of reasons — some drink to enhance social experiences while others drink as an avenue to escape their everyday problems. Although alcohol consumption in the military is not prohibited, alcohol abuse impacts mission readiness and can affect a service member's career, family and unit.
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Champions program, an alcohol abuse prevention program created by the ADAPT clinic at Kadena Air Base, Japan, aims to promote healthy relationships with alcohol by building a community of Airmen who have the knowledge to provide basic alcohol education and resources to other Airmen in their units.
“The overall goal of the program is to try and decrease the number of command referrals and increase the numbers of self-referrals,” said Tech. Sgt. Zacchaeus Wilson, 18th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron ADAPT NCO in charge. “We want to empower people to identify when they have a problem and be able to know where to go for help.”
For some Airmen, seeking help for alcohol-related issues at the ADAPT clinic may seem terrifying due to the misconception of the consequences for going through treatment, explained Staff Sgt. Prencella Taylor, 18th OMRS ADAPT supervisor. To make it easier for people to start the process of getting the help they need, the opportunity to become an ADAPT Champion is available to anyone who wishes to help their unit.
Becoming an ADAPT Champion involves training that focuses on alcohol education and an overview of the ADAPT program, learning what a standard drink size is and knowing how to identify the differences between problematic and responsible drinking. Additionally, Champions receive quarterly refresher training and attend regular meetings to discuss any alcohol-related issues they see going on in their units.
“Champions can give us information on trends that have been going on in their unit,” said Capt. Josilyn Banks, 18th OMRS ADAPT program manager. “We can then employ them to go out and be very specific and targeted for our prevention efforts. We give them the tools to go out and educate people, but a lot of the prevention efforts come from them as well.”
Without the help of the Champions, the ADAPT clinic would not be able to provide alcohol education and employ tailored prevention efforts to every work center on Kadena, Banks stated.
“The ADAPT Champions program extends the clinic's reach in a way that we could not possibly do, we couldn’t ever engage with all the people under our responsibility,” Banks said. “So we extend our reach by having other trusted Airmen within their unit to do it.”
Although being perfect in their role is not required, being responsible and reliable are qualities an ADAPT Champion should have, Banks explained.
“We want people who have real experiences and a real motivation to get out and help other people make better choices about drinking,” Banks emphasized. “Alcohol is not illegal so people are going to drink, we understand that. The solution to DUI’s and alcohol-related incidents is not to stop people from drinking, the solution is to educate people about how to drink responsibly and prevent those things from happening.”
To receive more information on how to become an ADAPT Champion, reach out to your unit’s ADAPT Champion, first sergeant or contact the ADAPT clinic directly 634-3272.