The Department of Defense announced today that military facilities will participate in the April 7, 2005, National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD). This annual outreach is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services, which provides free alcohol screening and education materials to participating organizations and individuals.
Alcoholism knows no boundary, said Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. The early identification of alcohol problems coupled with effective education and treatment saves lives and improves our force readiness. The department had more than 100 military facilities participate in this important program last year and encourages even greater participation this year.
Elimination of alcohol abuse is one of three key health issues identified by the department, along with weight management and tobacco cessation. Organizers point out that this screening program is designed to include military personnel, government civilians and family members as well. All military facilities are encouraged to register and participate in this helpful program and to use the materials when appropriate for local circumstances. The NASD kit of materials contains screening forms, educational flyers and brochures, posters and a video, and a procedure guide to help personnel plan an alcohol-screening event. The screening program is relevant for anyone who drinks alcohol.
One facility that had a successful program last year, for example, was Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The thing that amazes me, said Mildred Fitch, of Tinkers ADAPT program, is that we found our people sharing the information with their families. In another successful program, held by Fort Bennings, Ga., substance abuse program, Yvonne Wilbanks explained that, We involved troop medical clinics to help target the high-risk population. It was a good program for our soldiers, because a lot of them are young, college-age people, so it was a chance to get them information explaining what is considered normal and what is not. Soldiers told us they dont often get a chance to find out [about the dangers of alcohol] until they have a problem and get in trouble.
Facilities, units or individuals interested in receiving the materials and implementing a local alcohol screening program can contact the NASD office at 1 (800) 253-7658, or by registering online at http://www.nationalalcoholscreeningday.org/ , by contacting or their local military drug and alcohol coordinating office.