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NEWS | Jan. 20, 2015

ASAP supports Fort Eustis, Story Soldiers

By Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

"I have an addiction and I need help getting back on my feet."

As the Fort Eustis Army Substance Abuse Program clinical director, these are words Elizabeth Calvano-Carpenter has heard multiple times throughout her career.

The ASAP mission is to strengthen the overall fitness and effectiveness of the U.S. Army's workforce, to conserve manpower and enhance the combat readiness of Soldiers.

Calvano-Carpenter and her team at the ASAP clinic work with Soldiers who struggle with substance abuse and provide flexible treatment plans to fit each Soldier's needs through counseling.

"We primarily help Soldiers who have a problem with drugs or alcohol," said Calvano-Carpenter. "Our main mission is to support the Soldiers and help them learn how to combat their issues in a healthy way and ensure they are fit for duty and mission ready."

Soldiers at Fort Eustis and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story may come to the ASAP clinic through a variety of ways, including a commander's referral if a Soldier is showing inappropriate behavior such as showing up to work under the influence or their substance abuse is interfering with work performance. Also, biochemical referrals come from a positive random urine screening, or a Soldier can self report to their primary care physician.

"We understand the stigmas behind having a substance abuse problem," said Calvano-Carpenter. "We want Soldiers to know that coming forward on their own is much better than getting in trouble and being referred to us and we can do a lot more to help them if they want the help and aren't just forced to get help."

The clinic works with approximately 85 to 90 Soldiers annually, providing level-one treatment, which includes an evaluation, group and one-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed Virginia therapist.

Soldiers run the risk of getting into legal, physical or health problems from substance abuse so she encourages Soldiers to seek help if they think they have a problem.

"We want to help Soldiers understand how drinking or using drugs become problematic," said Calvano-Carpenter. "We can give them skills and tools they can use to ensure they are mission ready at all times."

While most Soldiers attend both group and one-on-one therapy sessions, the clinic staff understands that some Soldiers may not be a good fit for group therapy, said Calvano-Carpenter.

"Some may have experienced significant childhood trauma, sexual or physical abuse," said Calvano-Carpenter. "Group therapy may be too overwhelming for them, so we focus primarily on individual therapy so they still get the help they need."

The clinic maintains a relationship with Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Georgia, for Soldiers who may need level-two or level-three treatment, which may include a 21-to-28 day intensive outpatient program or a four-to-six week residential program. Once a level-two or three treatment is complete, Soldiers return to the ASAP clinic for one year of follow-up and therapy sessions as needed. For more information or to seek treatment, contact the Fort Eustis ASAP Clinic at 878-1674.