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Press Release 17-14
April 10, 2014

SARP Kicks Off Alcohol Awareness Month

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Phil Beaufort, U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs

Portsmouth, Va. – In support of alcohol awareness U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Norfolk held an Alcohol Awareness Month Symposium, April 9, at Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) on the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth compound.

Over 60 Alcohol and Drug Control Officers (ADCO) and Drug and Alcohol Program Advisors (DAPA) from commands in the Hampton Roads area attended the symposium to hone their substance abuse fighting skills.

According to USFF ADCO Jennifer Dolehite the symposium focused on teaching ADCO’s and DAPA’s how to run a successful substance abuse prevention program and gave them a better understanding of the inner workings of SARP during the recovery process.

“Today is an opportunity for ADCO’s and DAPA’s to get an understanding of the full workings of the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program and how to utilize this resource,” said Dolehite. “The Navy has a lot of programs available to us for helping our Sailors, but sometimes we don’t know how to use them correctly. So our goal is to give them the big picture so they can streamline their own programs and get Sailors the help SARP offers.”

Chief Yeoman Renee Bass is a program manager at SARP. She said their number one goal is to get service members, family members and retirees the help they need.

“We are seeing more people getting deeper and deeper into addiction, taking their lives, or going down the path to take their lives and we want to stop it before it gets to that point,” said Bass. “We want to support recovery and encourage command involvement, because without command support these Sailors, Soldiers, Airman and Marines are going to go back to their commands after treatment and feel alone. They really need to feel that they have a support network when they leave here so they can complete their recovery.”

Terry Tatum, SARP program director, said ideally a patient enters the program knowing that they have a disease and are willing to work on rehabilitation.

“The hardest job we have is actually having people recognize they have a problem. Because of the stigma and denial that runs rampant in the decease process, its almost like a parasite that keeps itself hidden. It’s a very stealth disease in that sense,” said Tatum.

Tatum said they have 72 beds for inpatient care and average around 100 outpatients a day.

“What we’re seeing more is a combination of mental health issues as well as drug and alcohol abuse. The old days of a person just having an alcohol or drug problem are a thing of the past,” said Tatum. “We’ve increased our staff with a psychologist, a full time psychiatrist and a chaplain that’s here two to three times a week, so we try to involve ourselves in every aspect of the treatment.”

“When you consider that only about 15 percent of the people who have a substance abuse problem get help -- there’s a lot more to be done,” said Tatum.

It all boils down to shipmates helping shipmates.

“This year’s Alcohol Awareness Month theme is ‘help for today, hope for tomorrow’. The DAPA’s assigned to each of the Navy commands are a key component to helping Sailors get the help they need. They are the front line in fighting this disease and helping them keep what they’ve earned,” said Dolehite.

For more information on SARP or the Alcohol Awareness Month campaign go to