Isle Drug Program Best in Army

Isle Drug Program Best in Army
Posted by FoM on October 22, 2001 at 08:25:13 PT
By Gregg K. Kakesako
Source: Star-Bulletin 
The Pacific Army Reserve has taken its alcohol and drug abuse program "from the ashes of an almost nonexistent program" and within three years made it a showcase for the entire Army, active and reserve.On Tuesday, Joanne Shimasaki, drug program manager for the Army Reserve's 9th Regional Support Command at Fort Shafter, and Brig. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, 9th RSC commander, will accept the 11th annual secretary of defense Military Services Community Drug Awareness Award for creating the best alcohol and drug abuse prevention program in the Army.
One of Shimasaki's challenges is that the 3,000 citizen soldiers belonging to the Army Reserve here and in the Pacific, which is part of her jurisdiction, put on their camouflage battle dress fatigues only 38 days a year. Those are the only times these soldiers can be tested for alcohol and illegal drugs, including the now-popular rave substance ecstasy."It's hard to get the word out," said Shimasaki, who assumed her job with the Army Reserve here in July 1999. "Active installations usually have a majority of their soldiers and families living in military housing or civilian housing very near the installation."She credits the success of the program to leaders in the 9th Regional Support Command, whose soldiers are found in units in Guam, Alaska, Japan, American Samoa, Saipan and Hawaii."The program is successful because of the commanders, from the top of the chain of command down, and the unit prevention leaders," she said. "This community-wide effort sends a clear message to the 9th RSC that substance abuse is not tolerated."Like other military branches, the Army has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs, but the emphasis placed by Lee and company commanders on the drug-testing program made it clear to the soldiers that the Pacific Army Reserve was serious.Shimasaki said company commanders are doing the urinalysis tests several times a year. Soldiers are picked randomly for the tests.However, Bill Castro, U.S. Army Pacific Alcohol and Drug Program manager, said that even if a soldier is missed during the random-testing cycle, he or she will still be tested at least once a year.The test results bore out the success of the Army Reserve's program -- the number of positive results significantly decreased after the program's first six months, Castro said.The drug urinalysis positive rate for the Pacific Army Reserve last year was 0.7 per cent, less than half the rate of the entire Army Reserve, which was 2 percent, Castro said.That means for every 1,000 soldiers tested in the Pacific Reserve, only seven tested positive for illegal substances, Castro said. That is a drop from the previous year, where for every 1,000 soldiers tested, 11 tested positive for drugs.Between Oct. 1, 1999, and Sept. 30, 2000, the Army Reserve in Hawaii tested 2,298 soldiers. The tests of 26 of those soldiers turned up positive for illegal substance. But a year later, between Oct. 1, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2001, urinalysis tests were given to 2,132 soldiers and only 15 had positive results.Castro believes soldiers are getting the message."It's definitely a deterrent," said Castro, who will be joining Shimasaki and Lee in receiving the award Tuesday at the Army's Center for Substance Abuse Program in Alexandria, Va. "You get in trouble, you'll lose your job."Any soldier who has three or more years of service or holds the rank of sergeant or higher is immediately released from the Army Reserve if he or she flunks the drug test.For younger enlisted soldiers in their first enlistment under three years or under the rank of specialist, Shimasaki said they are given two choices: leave or seek rehabilitation."However, they are still subject to the random testing," she added. "And if they test positive, they are immediately separated. They are given only one chance."Shimasaki said if a soldier seeks help before any testing occurs, he or she will be referred to counseling and sent to Schofield Barracks medical clinic for assessment."If space is available, the soldier will be treated at Schofield," she said.If the Schofield clinic cannot accommodate the soldier, Shimasaki said she tries to find them other programs in the private sector. Army Reservists, under military regulations, are responsible for all rehabilitation costs, Castro said.Shimasaki said it helps if the soldier has medical insurance because that can be used to find a local treatment facility.There are other low-cost or free private treatment programs that a soldier can use.Maj. Stephen Zarbo, operations officer for the head of the Army Reserve, said Shimasaki's efforts to find rehabilitation programs for reservists is unique. "This is the first in the Army Reserve and, to my knowledge, is unheard of in the entire Army. The 9th RSC is currently the only United States Army reserve command that tracks and monitors the progress of soldiers in rehabilitation."A total of 37 soldiers were referred for assistance over the past two years."The message we are trying to get out to the soldiers is that if you have a problem, let us know," Castro said. "If you want help, we can help you. If you hide it, you will get caught."In addition, Shimasaki, with the help of her boss, Brig. Gen. Lee, was able to get funds for five breathalyzers. Any soldier registering .05 is considered "drunk on duty." In comparison, the state's standard for drunken driving is .08.Soldiers flunking a breathalyzer must submit to blood tests and then are referred to counseling. Some 77 percent of the soldiers in the 9th RSC were tested this year.In praising the Pacific Army Reserve's drug and alcohol abuse control program, Lt. Gen. E.P. Smith, commander of the U.S. Army Pacific, noted that Shimasaki developed it "from the ashes of an almost non-existent program to merit emulation by all commands."Smith added, "Command involvement at all levels reinforced by a highly motivated and dedicated program manager with her staff of unit prevention leaders hallmarks the success of the program."Note: Positive tests have declined since the Pacific Reserve's drug abuse program began.Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)Author: Gregg K. KakesakoPublished: October 21, 2001Copyright: 2001 Honolulu Star-BulletinContact: letters starbulletin.comWebsite: Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #6 posted by i420 on October 23, 2001 at 12:15:29 PT
Awesome points.
FoM you made a VERY good point. I liked that hehehe.
"Be all you can pee" that was really good too Kapt let me know when the bumper sticker is out!
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Comment #5 posted by i420 on October 23, 2001 at 12:09:38 PT
Been there saw that.
Let me tell you what REALLY happens in the military. These urine tests pushed soldiers who used marijuana to graduate to other drugs such as crank and cocaine. Now they are pb moving on to "LEGAL" highs like huffin co2
You may wonder why this is well it is simple to figure out.Marijuana is detectable up to 30 days and things like cocaine are out of your system in 72 hours. It doesn't take stars and bars to figure that out. Yes i witnessed this in SCHOFIELD BARRACKS The very place mentioned in this article.
I got out of the service for this very reason.You expect us to lay our lives on the line for a constitution that you tread on. F... you.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 22, 2001 at 11:45:37 PT
My 2 cents
My husband four!I've been thinking how strange this all is. They made drug testing as a control mechanism. If the draft is brought back and someone wouldn't want to be drafted just flunk the drug test. They wanted to get us and this could get them instead. Just a thought. Maybe we should make a soap opera and call it As The Drug War Spins. LOL!
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Comment #3 posted by Morgan on October 22, 2001 at 11:14:14 PT
Me three!
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Comment #2 posted by Patrick on October 22, 2001 at 11:11:01 PT
Amen kaptinemo
Me too!
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on October 22, 2001 at 10:59:22 PT:
Ah, yes,'substance abuse'
But of course, not a word about the one substance whose abuse is practically a requirement in many military circles...alcohol.You Airborne types (oo-rah!) know exactly what I mean; remember your "prop-blasts?". The goal was to run the obstacle course...stinking drunk and vomting all the way. Some fun. Once was enough for me...Yessir, the military says it is looking out for the welfare of the average soldier...that's why it turns a blind eye on something that kills liver and brain cells while coming down like a ton of bricks on a weed that harms not a soul. With so much BS in the military nowadays, no wonder they have a hard time meeting their personnel requirements; this is just a small example.Yep, instead of "BE! all that you can be!" it's now "PEE! all that you can pee!". God am I so glad I'm out...
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