White Sands Missile Range’s Army Substance Abuse Program has been continuously assisting the workforce and the military community to get back on their feet when faced with a stressful or difficult situation that affects their daily life.
Alcohol and Drug Control Officer Theresa M. Martinez and Drug Test Coordinator Adam Judd are working as a small but greatly effective team to help combat issues within the community and help build resiliency.
“(ASAP) increases employee productivity, decreases the amount of sick leave used, increases their work presence and the bottom line is it saves money because employees are going to work and they know someone is interested in their wellbeing,” Martinez said.
ASAP is broken down into three different categories: clinical, prevention and drug testing.
Clinical services are specifically for active duty military. Clinical services entail screening for substance abuse related issues. The screening determines whether the Soldier just requires screening, screening and education, or screening, education and counseling services and/or referral to an inpatient facility. The screening consists of a biographical, psychological and social assessment. In October of 2016, the clinical aspect of ASAP will fall under the Medical Command realm.
Suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, a limited part of risk reduction, and the Employee Assistance Program all fall under the realm of prevention. Suicide prevention requires military and civilian personnel to obtain one and a half hours of training a year. The Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, a two day training program that teaches individuals how to recognize cues for help and ways to prevent possible risk of suicide, is a training that is taught by Judd. ASAP also provides Ask, Care, Escort or ACE training, the Army’s preferred suicide prevention training.
Substance abuse training requires military personnel obtain four hours of training and requires civilians to obtain two hours annually. There is an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Training that fulfills two hours of the yearly requirement for substance abuse. Martinez and Judd also conduct risk inventories for military units. Each member of the unit fills out a questionnaire and Martinez and Judd look into unit cohesion and high risk behavior in order to address any possible issues before they become problems.
Martinez currently runs the Employee Assistance Program which offers short-term counseling and referrals for civilian employees, military, and military family members. The program provides assistance to any employee who is going through difficult times and helps find resources to assist the employee. Their services can assists employees who struggle with varying addictions, depression, financial concerns, child/elder care or any issues that can affect your life. Martinez said it doesn’t have to be substance abuse related, it can be anything that affects their ability to do their job. The program is confidential for civilians.
“Civilians need to know that they’re coming to a place that won’t affect their career and documentation is not put in their medical record,” Martinez said.
Judd is in charge of the drug testing aspect of ASAP. Military members are required to have 100 percent testing every year. Of the 500 civilian personnel that are in testing designated positions on post, 50 percent must be tested each year. Civilians who are called in for testing are given two hours to report. Failure to report could be grounds for termination or can be reported as a positive drug test by default. Individuals who have a commercial driver’s license and test positive receive counseling before they can get the license back. Judd said he hasn’t seen a positive drug test result for military or civilians in the past three years.
The team tries to provide at least one training course a month for the workforce. In the past two months they held six courses. In each training the team members provide a list of services that ASAP offers in order to create a greater awareness within the community.
“The classes are overwhelmingly full. There’s a lot of interest. There are a lot of people out there who are stressed,” Martinez said.
“If someone stops us for another service outside of the training we’ll talk to them,” Judd added.
Martinez is fairly new to WSMR, having arrived last year, she said she’s noticed a trend in civilians visiting ASAP a little too late. She said it would be more beneficial to the employee to be able to come in early before the issue can affect their job.
“People are coming in when the problem’s already severe,” Martinez said.
She said she also noticed that those who have a strong support system at work are more willing to come in to seek assistance. Supervisors who feel an employee can benefit from one of the programs but are unsure the employee will be willing to attend such a program can submit a supervisory referral.
The team of two is hoping to gain an additional person who will run EAP full-time. For now they said they are doing everything in their power to create a strong ASAP presence throughout the community.
“We wear multiple hats, we back each other up,” Martinez said.
ASAP is available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For additional information on services call ASAP at (575) 678-1957.