US Navy Reminds Sailors Where to Turn for Help

US Navy Reminds Sailors Where to Turn for Help

Alcohol Abuse Awareness Month ends April 30, but responsible drinking is an “all year” thing.

“If you have a problem with alcohol, recognizing the problem is the first step toward recovery,” said Dorice Favorite, director, Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP).

“Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, and the alternative could ruin your health and your career. By getting help early, Sailors can address their drinking habits before they result in serious consequences,” added Favorite.

Self-referral is the best option for seeking help but if you suspect that you or someone you know has an issue with alcohol the Navy encourages you to seek help. When Sailors get help via self-referral or through the help of their command, neither results in any disciplinary action.

A self-referral is initiated by a Sailor who desires counseling or treatment for drug and/or alcohol abuse. To qualify as a valid self-referral, there can be no credible evidence that an alcohol-related incident has already occurred. For example, you can’t initiate a self referral after you’ve been arrested for DUI/DWI to avoid disciplinary action.

A self-referral disclosure of alcohol abuse must be made to a qualified referral agent with the intent of acquiring treatment. Disclosure made to any other person who is not a qualified self referral agent may not prevent disciplinary action. Qualified self-referral agents include:

* Commanding officer, XO, OIC, or CMDCM/Chief of the Boat (COB)
* Navy drug and alcohol counselor (or intern)
* DOD medical personnel (including LIP)
* Chaplain
* Fleet and Family Support Center counselor.

Similarly, the Navy reminds all personnel that if a friend or shipmate needs help controlling their drinking, don’t wait until they hit rock bottom. Reach out and talk to them about your concerns.

“When approaching a friend, don’t attempt to talk to them while they’re drunk,” said Favorite. “Wait until they’re sober, then express your concern rather than blame or criticize. Bring up specific incidents that worried you, and offer to go with them to get help.”

Naval Today Staff, April 25, 2013; Image: US Navy