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News | Sept. 29, 2006

Living in a culture of responsibility

By By Julie Couture and Capt. Aron Potter People Helping People

A mechanism for organizing and implementing activities is the Culture of Responsible Choices Program. 

This program is about creating a cultural shift within the Air Force, focusing on a number of behaviors that impair mission readiness. 

Alcohol misuse, illegal drug use, tobacco use, fitness deficits, general health problems and failure to follow safety and injury prevention guidelines, are just a few of the behaviors that CoRC is targeting. 

Alcohol misuse among active-duty Air Force has been a longstanding concern. It presents a clear and present danger to the Air Force mission, morale and discipline. However, 81 percent of the alcohol-related incidents each year are obtained by only one third of the Air Force population, with 17-24-year-old active-duty members most at risk. 

Therefore, CoRC targets this population. For the past five years there has been no reduction in the amount of alcohol-related incidents Air Force wide. That's approximately 5,300 each year. In fact, 40 percent of Airmen (E-1 to E-3) report that heavy drinking has negatively impacted their duty performance. Furthermore, alcohol misuse is a factor in 33 percent of suicides, 57 percent of sexual assaults, 29 percent of domestic violence, and 44 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents. CoRC was designed after a pilot project called "0-0-1-3," which took place at FE Warren AFB in 04'-05'. It showed staggering results. There was a 68 percent decrease in on base alcohol-related incidents, a 64 percent decrease in DUIs by active duty members, and a 93 percent decrease in underage drinking. And these results occurred the first year the program began. Due to these increasable results, the program is now Air Force wide and has come to Langley.
 
You might be asking yourself, "How is the Air Force planning to change its culture?" The answer is not simple, it starts at the top. This program is based on a foundational model with four core elements. First, leadership - CoRC involves active, top-down support to establish the importance of changing the Air Force culture. Second, the individual - the program involves improving screening techniques in the medical clinics, encouraging first-line supervisors to discuss healthy lifestyle choices, enlisting the commitment of all Airmen to take care of themselves and each other, and improving education and awareness about the effects of poor lifestyle choices. Third, base community - CoRC encourages prevention activities; for example, establishing community-based recreational activities that provide alternatives to alcohol misuse and drug use. 

Additionally, a strong media campaign promoting responsibility and healthy lifestyle choices is essential. As you can imagine, the agencies described above are essential for this core element of the CoRC program. Fourth, local community involvement - includes targeting the total community population and not just the individual or the base. 

This includes the development of coalitions with off-base community agencies, and enlisting community support and identifying threats to a healthy lifestyle. 

The goal for the first year of CoRC at Langley is to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents by 25 percent. This is an aggressive goal! Please, do your part to help us change the culture at Langley AFB and meet this goal. Remember, at-risk drinkers are not those who have serious alcohol problems or are alcohol-dependent. Rather, they are people who are more likely to experience an alcohol-related incident such as an accident, injury, unwanted sexual experience, occupational/academic problem, relationship issue, or mental health disorder like depression. 

For details, call 225-7630 ext: 51321.
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