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111th ATKW official reminder: Substance abuse prevention requires constant attention

Staff Sgt. Tyler Williams, 39th Air Base Wing drug program administrative manager, documents a sample for the Drug Demand Reduction Program March 14, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

Staff Sgt. Tyler Williams, 39th Air Base Wing drug program administrative manager, documents a sample for the Drug Demand Reduction Program March 14, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The Drug Demand Reduction Agency makes sure Airmen are adhering to Air Force standards by testing for illegal substances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Wisher)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. --

Substance abuse can have a negative impact on one’s health, relationships, work, and for those who serve in the military, it can completely end their career.

Although October was National Substance Abuse Prevention month, it is important that service members are always holding themselves accountable.

You May Not Remember What You Signed

“Air Force Form 2030 (USAF Drug and Alcohol Abuse Certificate) is mandated by big Air Force,” said 111th Attack Wing Recruiting Office Supervisor Master Sgt. Kevin Watson. “You fill out this form before you enlist to ensure there was no past substance abuse. And on the day of enlistment, you fill out another portion to make sure nothing has changed since you initially filled out the form.”

With all the paperwork Airmen sign coming in, it’s possible they don’t remember this form, but every member of the Air Force, enlisted and officer, whether an active duty member, guardsman or reservist, has filled it out. AF Form 2030 not only asks about prior substance abuse, but also states that they will not abuse substances at any time while serving.

The Pennsylvania National Guard has gone a step further and implemented an additional form, PAANG Controlled Substance Statement of Understanding.

“This is all encompassing,” said Watson. “When people are coming in they think we are talking about big drugs and narcotics, but most people get jammed up on drug testing with prescription drugs.”


The Grey Area

Prescription drug use is one of the gray areas which the supplemental form clarifies.

“Let’s say you broke your leg and you were on pain meds,” said 111th ATKW Drug Demand Reduction Program Manager Master Sgt. Carolyn Debuque. “You put them in your medicine cabinet and four months later, you feel pain, so you go and take the meds. At this point it is no longer corresponding with a prescription. You’re considered abusing that drug.”

An administrative discharge is one of many consequences an Airman could face for substance abuse and using illegal drugs.

It Can Cost More Than A Career

“If an Airman is using the EAP benefits or GI Bill to pay for school, and they come in and fail a urinalysis test, they are now subject to recoupment and have to pay back those funds,” said Watson. “You also have to pay back any cash bonus incentives.”

Substance abuse and illegal drug use are not worth the consequences, and it is important that service members not experiment or misuse them.

If in the event a service member becomes addicted or experiments, it is important they consult their leadership as soon as they recognize they have a problem.

There Is Help

“According to AFI44-121, if someone self-reports that they have an addiction prior to a urinalysis, there are procedures in place to get an individual help and they will not be penalized for that initial self-report,” said 111th ATKW Deputy Staff Judge Advocate Capt. Tabia Cole.

There are also several sources of help available through Military One Source.

While sources of help are available, it is important that members of the military practice good judgement, and maintain mission readiness by being aware of and responsible for what goes into their bodies. It is everyone’s responsibility to hold themselves and others responsible for drug prevention.