Alcohol & Drug Abuse

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Overview
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OVERVIEW

Alcohol and Drug abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse is often associated with distress and are often linked to a wide array of other problems that degrade mission effectiveness and personal quality of life. People undergoing stressful life events may turn to alcohol to help alleviate their distress and to cope with problems. While the Navy maintains a "zero tolerance" policy for drug use, leaders should make every reasonable effort to retain Sailors when problems with alcohol surface and help them return to full productivity, and to a healthy lifestyle.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND REHABILITATION PROGRAM (SARP)

The primary objectives of the SARP are:

  • To promote readiness, health, and wellness through the prevention and the treatment of substance abuse.
  • To prevent the negative consequences of substance abuse to the individual, family, and organization.
  • To provide comprehensive education and treatment to individuals who experience problems attributed to substance abuse.
  • To return identified substance abusers to unrestricted duty status or to assist them in their transition to civilian life, as appropriate.

Every opportunity should be taken to ensure that supervisors are trained to understand the negative impact of substance abuse on the mission, to identify the warning signs of abuse, and to know how to refer Sailors for assessment and/or treatment. Leader's suspecting alcohol problems must refer the Sailor to the Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor (DAPA) and/or SARP for an evaluation. Additionally, Sailors with alcohol problems who have not yet gotten into trouble (i.e., alcohol-related incidents) should be encouraged to voluntarily seek help without fear of negative consequences.

WARNING SIGNS OF PROBLEM DRINKING

Primary signs of problem drinking in a Sailor include:

  • Alcohol odor on their breath
  • Appearing intoxicated during duty hours
  • Appearing "hung over" on multiple occasions
  • Indications of alcohol withdrawal such as tremors, sweating, anxiety, and irritability

OTHER SIGNS OF PROBLEM DRINKING, OR OF OTHER SUBSTANCE ABUSE MAY INCLUDE:

  • Interpersonal problems (family members, friends and coworkers)
  • Changes in work habits (frequently late to work, leaving early)
  • Problems in work performance
  • Changes in appearance (decline in dress and appearance)
  • Significant mood and behavior changes
  • Frequent talk about drinking

These signs of distress may be the result of a number of different problems, and one should not assume that they are always substance abuse related.

LEADERS SHOULD ALSO BE AWARE THAT:

  • Substance abuse/misuse problems adversely impact military readiness and the mission.
  • Substance abuse/misuse increases the risk for injuries, family violence and suicide.
  • Relationship problems will usually be the first indicator of difficulty with substance misuse. Job performance problems are more likely to occur later and may suggest a more severe problem.
  • Individuals diagnosed with alcohol problems need specialized treatment. While in treatment, Sailors will be disqualified from worldwide duty.
  • Use of illicit drugs automatically places the Sailor’s continuation of military service in jeopardy and may result in a punitive discharge, administrative actions including separation from military service, and UCMJ charges.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMMANDING OFFICERS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS, OFFICERS IN CHARGE AND COMMAND MASTER CHIEFS

  • To provide an appropriate environment that encourages Sailors to seek help for alcohol problems, without fear of negative consequences, before an alcohol-related incident occurs.
  • To assign an appropriate command DAPA in writing and have them trained within 90 days per OPNAVINST 5350.4D
  • To assign a command UPC in writing per OPNAVINST 5350.4D.
  • To attend Alcohol and Drug Abuse Management Seminar (ADAMS) for Leaders per OPNAVINST 5350.4D.
  • To ensure every Sailor receives proper substance abuse prevention awareness training per OPNAVINST 5350.4D.

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ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF DEPARTMENT HEADS, DIVISION OFFICERS, CHIEFS

  • To provide an appropriate environment that encourages Sailors to seek help for alcohol problems, without fear of negative consequences before an alcohol-related incident occurs.
  • To attend Alcohol and Drug Abuse Management Seminar (ADAMS) for Supervisors per OPNAVINST 5350.4D.
  • To observe and document the performance and conduct of subordinates with known alcohol problems, and direct the immediate supervisors to do the same.
  • To direct blood alcohol and drug testing, as appropriate.
  • Refer all suspected substance abusers and Sailors who incur an alcohol related incident to SARP via their DAPA, per OPNAVINST 5350.4D.
  • To assess the Sailor’s suitability for continued military service after treatment.
  • To serve as an active member of the treatment team.
  • To support member’s aftercare program.
  • To ensure every Sailor receives proper substance abuse prevention awareness training per OPNAVINST 5350.4D.

METHODS FOR IDENTIFYING SUBSTANCE ABUSERS

MEMBERS WITH SUBSTANCE ABUSE/MISUSE PROBLEMS CAN BE IDENTIFIED THROUGH SEVERAL CHANNELS, INCLUDING:

Click each heading for more information.

SELF IDENTIFICATION

The Navy provides evaluation and intervention to Sailors seeking help with alcohol problems. Limited protection is afforded to Sailors when self identifying (OPNAVINST 5350.4.D).

MEDICAL IDENTIFICATION

Any health care provider who suspects substance problems must refer the Sailor to the SARP program for an evaluation.

COMMAND REFERRALS

Commanding Officers who suspect problem drinking must refer Sailors to SARP via their DAPA.

SUBSTANCE-RELATED INCIDENT

Many Sailors who enter the SARP are identified subsequent to an alcohol-related incident, in which law enforcement or other disciplinary authority becomes involved. Examples include driving while intoxicated, underage drinking, and disorderly conduct while drunk.Commander will be notified in such instances and are responsible to initiate the referral to SARP, per OPNAVINST 5350.4.D

DRUG TESTING

The Navy conducts random urinalysis to detect and deter drug use among all military personnel. Navy Drug Screening Program consist of the following components: random selection, member's consent, self referral, probable cause, unit sweep, command directed and service directed.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND REHABILITATION PROGRAM (SARP)

  • The SARP program staff evaluate all Sailors suspected of drug and alcohol abuse in order to help the Command understand the extent of the problem and to determine the Sailor’s need for treatment and the level of care required.
  • A Command can refer a Sailor by directly contacting the local SARP office and asking for an evaluation. If the Commanding Officer elects to prefer charges for suspected drug abuse, this must be done prior to the referral (DD Form 458). However, if the command is concerned about the psychological health of the Sailor he or she should have the Sailor evaluated for suicidal or homicidal ideation through a Command Directed Evaluation (CDE) at Mental Health.
  • If a Command refers an individual for a substance abuse evaluation, the Sailor must be told the reason(s) for the evaluation, emphasizing that the evaluation is not punitive in nature.The Sailor should also be directed to report in uniform for the assessment at the appointed date and time.
  • During the evaluation, the Sailor will be interviewed and may receive psychological testing. The potential results of the evaluation are:
    • No diagnosis
    • Alcohol/substance abuse
    • Alcohol/substance dependence
    • Other mental health diagnosis
  • Members meeting the diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence are put on a duty-limiting profile, which is continuously monitored to determine the appropriateness of continuing or terminating the profile.

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REFERENCES RELEVANT TO ALCOHOL AND/OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEMS

  • DoD 1010.1: Military Drug Abuse Testing Program.
  • DoD 1010.4: Drug and Alcohol Abuse by DoD Personnel.
  • DoD 1010.7: Drunk and Drugged Driving By DoD Personnel.
  • DoD 1010.9: DoD Civilian Employees Drug Abuse Testing Program.
  • SECNAVINST 5300.28D Military Substance Abuse Prevention and Control
  • SECNAVINST 5300.29B Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse and Operating Motor Vehicles
  • SECNAVINST 1910.4B Enlisted Separations
  • SECNAVINST 1920.6A Officer Separations
  • OPNAVINST 5350.4.D Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Control
  • OPNAVINST 5355.3B Submarine and Nuclear Propulsion Program Personnel Drug/Alcohol Policy

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Random Urinalysis

IDENTIFYING DRUG USE

Drug testing through the Navy Drug Screening Program (NDSP) is a DoD mandated program. Each base has a Program Manager who is responsible for managing both the drug testing program and outreach programs. The overall mission of the program is to deter illicit drug use among all Naval personnel, and is vital to the mission readiness of the Navy.

Click each heading for more information.

RANDOM URINALYSIS

  • Random urinalysis of Naval personnel is accomplished on randomly selected days using the NDSP, a DoD certified computer program. Each command will sample a minimum of 15 percent of its assigned personnel monthly with a minimum of 4 collections per month.
  • Sailors are selected on a random basis using NDSP.
  • Due to the randomness of the computer selection process some Sailors may be selected to provide a sample more times than others.
  • The urine collection process is the method used for drug testing and strict adherence to the chain of custody procedures is required to ensure forensic defensibility of the drug testing results.
  • Results may be used for UCMJ or administrative actions, including adverse characterizations of administrative discharge.
  • Detailed guidance is contained in OPNAVINST 5350.4D. In addition to random testing, several tools exist for testing when Commanding Officers suspect drug use.

MEMBER'S CONSENT

  • Used prior to a probable cause or command directed urinalysis test.
  • Prior to asking the Sailor if he or she will consent to a urinalysis the Command representative should advise the Sailor that they may decline to provide a sample. Consent should be obtained in writing but is not required.
  • Commanding Officer's are not required to give Article 31, UCMJ rights prior to asking for consent, however, evidence that a Sailor was read these rights may be used to help demonstrate the Sailor's consent was voluntary.
  • Consent is not valid if it is mere acquiescence to authority.
  • Results may be used for UCMJ action, characterization of discharge and administrative action.

PROBABLE CAUSE

  • Used when the Commanding Officer has probable cause to suspect a Sailor has ingested drugs, is intoxicated, or has been involved in a drug related offense.
  • Commanding Officers must directly coordinate with SJA's office.
  • Results may be used for UCMJ action, characterization of discharge, and administrative action.

COMMAND DIRECTED

  • Used when Commanding Officer, Officer in Charge, or other Officer who has succeeded to command per U.S. Navy Regulations, suspect drug use but does not have a sufficient basis for probable cause. The authority to authorize a command-directed urinalysis may be delegated to an Executive Officer and or Command duty Officer.
  • Results may be used for administrative action only.
  • Command directed drug testing is appropriate when the Sailor displays aberrant, bizarre or unlawful behavior.

SELF REFERRAL

  • Sailor may self refer as a drug user prior to being selected to participate in urinalysis testing (i.e. random testing, voluntary consent testing, probable cause, and command directed testing).
  • Commanding Officers may initiate administrative actions such as discharge, removal from flying, Personal Reliability Program, restricted area badges, etc.
  • Sailors in the SARP may also be disciplined under the UCMJ when independent evidence of drug use is obtained.

UNIT SWEEP

  • Urinalysis of an entire unit, or the selection, random or otherwise, of an entire sub-unit or identifiable segment of the command, unit sweep of a sub-unit can include an entire department, division
  • A command may conduct unit sweeps, although no longer mandated to and can conduct 5 command sweeps without approval from higher authority.
  • Or watch section; all personnel within specified pay grades; all newly reporting personnel as they report above; or all personnel who surrender are apprehended after an unauthorized absence. Unit sweeps or subunit urinalysis inspection should not be conducted as a means to smear a specific Sailor.

FOLLOW-THROUGH AFTER IDENTIFICATION OF DRUG USE

The Navy maintains a zero tolerance for drug use and Sailors using illicit drugs are typically separated. The Commanding Officer is responsible for supporting medical assessment, stabilization and possibly treatment prior to and during the separation process. Additional support from base helping agencies may be essential during the often lengthy period of investigation and legal or administrative proceedings.

RESOURCES

REFERENCES

  • Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders; DSM-IV-TR. (2000). Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  • Harold, K., & Benjamin S. (1995). Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry VI eds. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins.

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