By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrea Perez, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs Office
MILLINGTON, Tenn. – With Navy-wide decreases in alcohol related incidents (ARIs) and driving under the influence (DUI) reports in 2011 over past years, Sailors are reminded to stay responsible in 2012, officials said Feb. 6.
“Responsible alcohol use is knowing how much alcohol your body can handle,” said Dorice Favorite, Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP) director. “Some people aren’t aware of how much alcohol is in a particular drink and those who aren’t educated on how much alcohol they can consume and still function, might drink too much and make irresponsible decisions.”
Per OPNAVINST 5350.4D, alcohol and drug abuse undermines combat readiness and is incompatible with the maintenance of high standards of performance and military discipline. It is a severe detriment to the Navy's overall mission readiness.
“Alcohol abuse impacts the Navy’s mission because every time we lose a Sailor, that means someone else has to pick up their responsibilities,” said Favorite. “Our current campaign, “Who Will Stand Your Watch,” talks about responsible use of alcohol and how someone’s poor decisions have an effect on everyone else. Everybody is accountable and Sailors need to understand that when we lose them, it has an impact on everyone.”
OPNAVINST 5350.4D defines responsible use as the application of self-imposed limitations of time, place, and quantity when consuming alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol shall not be consumed to the extent that it:
- Impairs rational and full exercise of a member's mental and physical faculties while in a duty status or in the performance of military duties;
- Reduces member's dependability and reliability;
- Reflects discredit upon the member personally or upon Navy;
- Results in behavior that is in violation of this instruction and/or the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
“Sailors who make poor choices and receive a DUI are subject to non-judicial punishment,” said Favorite. “They also may be processed for administrative separation and receive counseling and if the DUI happened in town, they will have court costs, so there are great ramifications to a poor decision.”
Violation of policies set forth in OPNAVINST 5350.4D subjects military members to the full range of administrative and disciplinary actions available. These include informal counseling, comments in fitness reports and evaluations, punitive measures, and administrative separation as required by the UCMJ.
“If a Sailor needs assistance for alcohol or drugs, we recommend that they refer themselves to their command Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor (DAPA), the chaplain or the Fleet and Family Support Center,” said Favorite.
According to Favorite, to qualify as a valid self-referral, disclosure of alcohol abuse must be made to a qualified referral agent with the intent of acquiring treatment, and there can be no credible evidence that the member was involved in an ARI. If a member’s chain of command initiates a referral, it may be based on any credible factor, including hearsay, personal observation, or noticeable change in job performance. Disclosure of alcohol abuse made to any person who is not a qualified self-referral agent may not shield the member from disciplinary action.
NADAP's mission is to support Fleet readiness by fighting alcohol abuse and drug use. For more information and resources visit the NADAP web page located under the Support and Services tab at www.npc.navy.mil.