Airmen ADAPT to better lifestyle

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
As military members, Airmen are held to a higher standard. They are expected to set examples and be role models for others look up to.

The substance abuse clinic here helps Airmen achieve that standard by providing prevention and treatments to active-duty members who experience problems attributed to substance abuse and try to minimize the negative consequences of substance abuse to the individual, family and organization.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Treatments are not a form of punishment, and the counselors are not the ones who issue the consequences to the individual. Their focus is to prevent, treat and educate Airmen.

"We educate on alcohol and how to drink responsibly if an individual chooses to drink," said Tech. Sergeant Thelma Richardson, 509th Medical Operations Squadron, substance abuse counselor.

ADAPT assists substance abusers with becoming 100 percent mission ready. They also minimize the negative consequences of substance abuse to the individual and family by raising awareness and educating individuals.

ADAPT is available to Airmen in hopes of helping them realize how much abusing substances can affect their lives.

"I didn't realize that what I was doing was endangering not only myself, but others as well," said Airman Basic Cori Suffern, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter. "The classes make you think about your lifestyle and where you will be if you stay on the path you're choosing."

Sergeant Richardson said she gets the most satisfaction from educating Airmen and seeing a change in their lives.

"The information that was given to me in class is definitely the most useful thing I have in recovering from my DUI and trying to keep as many people as I can from making the same mistake," said Airman Suffern.

"I believe most DUI cases happen because Airmen aren't well informed," said Sergeant Richardson. "They don't know how long it takes for them to process each drink or how much alcohol they can consume before they reach an acceptable limit."

With the help of ADAPT, Whiteman has seen a radical decrease in the number of Airmen who have been caught drinking underage or who have gotten DUI's since 2008. According to ADAPT statistics, by this time last year there were 47 cases, whereas so far this year we have had 25.

"We provide the tools, but it's up to individuals to utilize them," said Sergeant Richardson.

"Hopefully, with the tools provided to Airmen to better themselves, they can achieve the above average standard they are expected to reach."