Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
In 2012, the Combat Center had 104 driving under the influence cases. So far in 2013, the Combat Center has already had 38 DUI cases, not including other alcohol related incidents.
Marines turn to alcohol when they don’t take advantage of activities around them, said Sgt. Ron Hinds, customer service staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Installation Personnel Administration Center.
Alcohol is a vice Marines use to deal with issues, it messes with your career, pay and your future, Hinds aded.
The Marine Corps’ ever existing alcohol abuse issue is slowly improving, and the Corps is taking steps to help prevent alcohol related incidents all together
The Alcohol Screening Program is a new program to help stem alcohol abuse. The program was implemented Jan. 1. The ASP allows units to screen the blood alcohol content of every Marine on duty with Breathalyzers, semi-annually.
Some of the common forms of alcohol abuse in the Marine Corps are underage drinking and high-risk drinking or binge drinking.
Since 2010, the Marine Corps has ramped up its efforts to reduce alcohol-related incidents and the misuse of alcohol. The unit-level program will help deter alcohol abuse and direct the appropriate intervention techniques before any incidents occur, said Gunnery Sgt. Isaac Lynn, substance abuse control officer, Headquarters Battalion.
“It’s another deterrent factor for the Marine Corps to implement so that Marines are doing the responsible thing and not abusing the privilege of consuming alcohol,” Lynn said. “It’s the small-unit leadership understanding the black and white of the orders put forth for substance abuse and understanding the contents as a leader and being able to have a hip-pocket class about it.
“I have had to go and break up disputes caused by alcohol and go to a Marines’ aid because he drank himself to a very bad state,” Staff Sgt. Shernard Holland, instructor developer, Marine Corps Logistics and Operations Group. “One case, a Marine passed out in his shower and he had busted his chin open (while) drinking.”
Holland took him to the hospital and got the Marine the medical help he needed. Knowing the Marine might need more help, he sat him down and confronted him about his drinking.
Holland says implementing the ASP and the Breathalyzers will keep more Marines accountable.
The letter of instruction for the program states the ASP testing process does not collect evidence to use against the Marine or sailor. It’s an opportunity for further intervention with a Marine or sailor who is identified as under the influence while on duty.
The program directs leaders to educate and counsel Marines and sailors who have a BAC test result of .02 or greater and refer Marines and sailors who have a BAC test result of .04 or greater to medical for a fit for duty determination. After the incident, the Marines shall be sent to the installation’s Substance Abuse Counseling Center for screening.
“I think overall it will help Marines by keeping a tab on them,” Holland said. “They’ll know you can’t go and get drunk every night and expect to come back to work like they’re fine. That may, and probably will, linger over to the next day and cause a problem.”