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NEWS | Feb. 2, 2024

ADAPT and overcome

By Airman 1st Class Adisen Smith 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – “Active-duty service members are known to have a higher prevalence of alcohol use, heavy drinking, and binge drinking than the general population,” (Self, 2020).

Fortunately, the U.S. Air Force implemented the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Treatment program in 1998, intended to treat substance abuse disorder, reduce harm, and ensure all servicemembers can execute the mission.

ADAPT is one of the three components in the Joint Base Langley-Eustis 633d Operational Medical Readiness Squadron mental health clinic.

During the first stage of the program, the medical provider will initiate an assessment with the patient to determine if there is a substance abuse problem and decide the best path for care.

If the patient meets the criteria for substance abuse, they will begin outpatient treatment.

Those who do not meet the requirements will go through two to three sessions discussing aspects of substances relevant to them as well as establish SMART goals; goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.

ADAPT mental health technicians agree that substance abuse disorders can affect physical and mental health.

“People may miss work because they are mentally compromised from substances, and this is usually identified [by their peers] in the workplace,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Paul Thomas, 633d mental health clinic ADAPT element chief.

When left untreated, substance abuse disorder can also introduce risks to personal and professional relationships.

“Everyone who has overcome addiction will tell you that substances were the most important part of their life,” said Thomas. “When family gets in the way of that, they can be treated more as an obstacle than a loved one and it can tear families apart.”

To be enrolled in ADAPT, members can self-refer, be referred by a medical provider, or referred by their commander.

Due to stigmas surrounding substance abuse, technicians have expressed the process of receiving care is far less daunting than one may imagine.

Patients will not be punished if they self-refer under circumstances that may be self-incriminating, such as underage drinking.

“We are not here to be punitive at all; we are here to provide treatment to keep people healthy and mission ready,” said Thomas.

To get more information about the program or to schedule an appointment, call (757) 764-6840.

Self, A.R (2020, July1). Alcohol-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and co-occurring injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2009-2018. Military Health System.