COMMENTARY: October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Olga Simons
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program Manager

While October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, Tinker Air Force Base’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program team urges personnel to be watchful of alcohol and drug abuse year-round.

Substance abuse touches all demographic groups and requires responsible decision making in both personal and professional aspects of our lives. Each of us makes the choice as to where we choose to go in our free time, as well as whether or not we elect to consume alcohol or use illicit drugs. We can each choose to be in an environment where alcoholic beverages or other substances are consumed, and we are ultimately responsible for any consequences that result from substance consumption.

On many occasions the ADAPT clinic has worked with Airmen who are not ready to take responsibility for their substance use. It is not bad timing or unfortunate luck when someone is arrested for a DUI, an accident occurs or a citation is given for public intoxication after a night of drinking. Responsible drinking means taking the necessary precautions so that it does not harm oneself, one’s family, innocent bystanders and one’s career.

Body mass determines how much a person is affected by alcohol. Blood Alcohol Concentration is the amount of alcohol that you have in your blood. Each standard drink consumed by the average 180 pound man will increase his BAC by .02 per drink. Each standard drink consumed by the average 120-pound woman will increase her BAC by .03 per drink.

Of note, BAC is not affected by tolerance. The more you drink the higher your BAC will be. It takes approximately one-and-a-half to two hours for your liver to metabolize each standard drink you consume. Regardless of gender, drinking two standard drinks will take your body roughly four hours to become alcohol free. After consuming three standard drinks, it takes around six hours to return to an alcohol-free state.

If you are feeling peer pressure to drink or engage in illicit drugs, you can enforce personal boundaries for yourself. Do not feel obligated to drink or use any illicit substances when you don’t want to.

Should you choose to drink, follow these eight steps for drinking responsibly:

  1. Use the buddy system. Never go out alone or with people you do not know.
  2. Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
  3. Know your limits. Do not drink to impress anyone.
  4. Alternate a standard drink with a non-alcoholic drink.
  5. Drink slowly. It takes time for alcohol to take effect.
  6. Stop drinking if you start to feel sick, buzzed or drunk.
  7. Have a designated driver. Choose one who will ensure you get home safely and will not consume alcohol.
  8. Always carry your Airmen Against Drunk Driving (A2D2) card. Call (405) 820-4444 if needed.
  9. The Department of Defense has a zero tolerance policy for the illegal or improper use of drugs by service members. This includes CBD oil, even CBD oil that allegedly contains no THC.

For more information, call the ADAPT program at (405) 582-6605.