asaplogoThe Army has a dedicated group of people who are in charge of bringing awareness to the dangers of substance abuse to different units in their branch of the military. In the past, this group has essentially lectured to soldiers about the dangers of drug abuse and informed the audience that if they were in need of substance abuse counseling to reach out and they would receive aid.

This method of educating soldiers is about to change however, as it has been realized that a more interactive, far-reaching approach needs to be taken to make a dent in the substance abuse problem the military is currently facing.

“We’re not going to do business the old way – 500 people in an auditorium and kill them with PowerPoint. We’re going to engage the audience,” explained Michael Noyes, an alcohol and drug officer assigned to head many of the lectures given in the past.

As part of the overhaul being given to the substance abuse education program, a larger focus on training and being able to identify the signs of drug abuse is being administered to many units. These educational activities are being administered in smaller group settings, allowing for a more interactive approach. Identifying the problems that the different units within the military are facing has proved to be an important catalyst to this change in approach.

After investigating the average age of the members in individual units, where they come from in the country, what their home life is like and how much they make, it was discovered that a more catered presentation to individual units would be beneficial. If the average age of a unit was 35, it was unlikely that they would respond well to being lectured about club drugs.

In addition to tailoring educational groups, the substance abuse team will also plan more activities that highlight drug and alcohol awareness. Sponsoring a 5K run is the first activity planned that will provide a forum bringing awareness to drunk driving and the dangers of getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol.