JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
“I got your six,” a phrase common around military members, means looking out for your fellow wingman, battle buddy or shipmate.
While embodying this phrase on the battlefield can mean life or death, a program at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, help warfighters in another battle that can mean life or death – the battle against substance misuse and abuse.
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program promotes readiness, health and wellness through the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and minimize the consequences substance abuse can have on those affected, their families and their co-workers.
“Talking with someone is a huge aspect of getting better,” said an anonymous service member who used the program. “Otherwise we let our fear take over and keep our problems in the shadows and darkness until they can't be controlled anymore, and a big incident happens, such as drunk driving. Once the big incident happens, our lives are turned upside down.”
The programs helps service members overcome substance abuse and prevent harmful substance-related incidents.
“If you’re struggling with drugs or alcohol, you are not alone,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Jordan Kieliszewski, 673d Medical Operation Squadron ADAPT program manager. “We want to help you get back on the right path.”
According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, service members are frequently concerned that going for treatment or getting labeled with a specific condition will lead to loss of security clearance, demotion, medical discharge, disrespect among unit members or disappointment from their leadership. This fear can keep service members and sometimes their families from seeking needed help.
“There are a lot of people out there who are having problems with alcohol who aren't aware of what's available to them," said another anonymous service member. “I always thought if I ever went to Alcoholics Anonymous, I'd lose my security clearance, but that's not necessarily the case.”
The program isn’t about reprimanding service members, it’s about keeping them mission-ready.
“Remember, getting help from ADAPT is not a punishment,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. CarrieAnn Rodriguez, 673d Medical Operation Squadron ADAPT NCO in-charge. “We don't hand out administrative paperwork. The fact that someone is coming to our program for help is not something that's going to get them administratively separated. We provide support and treatment for people struggling with alcohol or drugs. Our mission is to return individuals to qualified duty status.”
ADAPT services are available to active duty and active Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. Beneficiaries are eligible for assessment and referral, following TRICARE guidelines for access. Department of Defense civilians can be seen for a substance assessment in accordance with AFI 44-107.
While ADAPT primarily supports JBER’s Air Force personnel, they work closely with the Army Substance Abuse Program, a similar program supporting JBER’s Army personnel. In-depth services provided by ASAP will be highlighted in a forthcoming article.
To speak to an ADAPT representative, call 580-2181, or visit the ADAPT office at the 673d Medical Group at 5955 Zeamer Avenue, Lynx Wing, 2nd floor, JBER. To speak to an ASAP representative, call 384-1418, or visit Building 1108, Fawn Street, JBER-R.
“If you’re battling substance misuse or abuse, we want to help,” Kieliszewski said. “Please come see us. Walk in, or call us. If you don’t want to talk to us, talk to someone you trust. Get help before it’s too late.”