April is Alcohol Awareness Month

By Wendy Messick Director, Directorate of Human Resources

By Wendy Messick, Director, Directorate of Human Resources

ID cards. Absentee voting. Employee Assistance. These are just a few of the many services Fort Meade’s Directorate of Human Resources provides.

The prevention of alcoholism and alcohol abuse is front and center this month for our organization.

The mission of the Army Substance Abuse Program, under the DHR, is to strengthen the overall fitness and effectiveness of the Army’s total workforce and enhance Soldier combat readiness through deterrence, prevention and treatment.

Cynthia Hawkins, Fort Meade’s Alcohol and Drug Control officer, accomplishes the ASAP mission with her six staff members and the support of military leaders on Fort Meade.

With more than 12 years’ experience working with the ASAP, Hawkins ensures the program focus includes educating the public about health risks associated with alcoholism, holding events that teach about prevention and encouraging others to get help.

Education and prevention are important factors to reducing the cases of alcoholism.

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States: 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky, binge-drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency.

Find more information on alcohol use here.

The economic burden of alcoholism and alcohol misuse or abuse in the United States has risen over the years. In 2010, the economic cost was estimated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to be approximately $249 billion.

Three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol misuse is related to binge drinking at $186 billion, taking into consideration the cost of treatment, illness, job losses, criminal justice actions, and death.

In 2013, 12.7 percent of college students ages 18–22 engaged in heavy drinking (five or more drinks on five or more occasions per month) in the past month compared with 9.3 percent of other persons of the same age.

This is according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

ASAP services can assist in addressing issues involving the effects of alcohol misuse or abuse. If you are eligible to receive military medical services or eligible for medical services under the Federal Civilian Employees Occupational Health Services Program, you are authorized support through the ASAP.

• Alcohol and Drug Control Officer: Cynthia Hawkins, 301-677-9204

• Employee Assistance Program Coordinator: Bill Lennon, 301-677-7981

• Military Drug Testing Coordinator: Jerry Fields, 301-677-7906

• Civilian Drug Testing Coordinator: Shannon Woods, 301-677-7982

• Prevention Coordinator: Samson Robinson, 301-677-7983

• Suicide Prevention Program Manager: Torrie Osterholm, 301-677-6541

• Risk Reduction: Dr. Fred Lockard, 301-677-6558

The Fort Meade Directorate of Human Resources provides a number of services designed to ensure that authorized persons have access to the personnel services needed for successfully meeting their missions.

While there are several types of prevention strategies, unit commanders should provide education and training to Soldiers and staff on the effects and consequences of alcohol and other drug abuse, along with the treatment services, which are available at the Installation ASAP Office.

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