ADAPT leads to right path

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Siuta B. Ika
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Around the world, there are multiple organizations willing to help people who misuse alcohol. At Holloman AFB, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program is in place for Airmen of all ranks to seek help for their substance abuse problems.

There are three different ways Airmen are referred to ADAPT, said Capt. Sharise Bijou, 49th Medical Operations Squadron ADAPT element chief.

"The three different ways are self-identification, command referral, and medical referral," she said. "Our mission here is to work on the health and wellness of our patients to make sure that they are mission ready and able to deploy. We help them figure out what's going on with them and get them the support they need."

The program, which is set up in different levels, is designed to meet each individual patient's needs, said Tech. Sgt. Jamel Garrett, 49th MDOS ADAPT NCO in charge.

"It's very client-centered, there's not a cookie cutter program that we use for everyone," he said. "We adjust our program to meet each patient at the level they're at. We work to minimize the consequences of substance abuse to the units and families of all parties involved."

The way the program is run now is much different than in the past, said Senior Airman Catalina Bennett, 49th MDOS ADAPT technician.

"ADAPT used to be one big group where Airmen who were here for underage drinking were grouped together with master sergeants that had been drinking forever, and all sat down and made them talk," she said. "But now it's set up in different levels that vary depending on their situations. It works much better this way because we can really find out how each person is being affected by alcohol. We teach them about responsible drinking, how alcohol affects your body, and how it gets broken down to name a few."

Because they have to be able to accommodate multiple people in different situations, each member of the ADAPT team undergoes extensive training.

"Our career field is mental health services," Garrett said. "We have to get an Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification, which is very hard to get because you have to meet an evaluation board, and have your certification submitted to the (major command). The certification is also recognized by the World Health Organization."

The team also goes out to brief the children of Team Holloman, the base's brand new incoming Airmen, and individual units around the base.

"Every other Thursday, we go out to the (First Term Airmen Center) to brief the new Airmen on alcohol misuse, and we've also gone out to do briefings at the Youth Center," said Garrett. "We also go out to units whenever they ask us. So if you want us out there, just pick up the phone and call us."

Because the ADAPT team is willing to help people in need, their program success rate is nearly 100 percent.

"I've been here for two years, and out of those two years, there has only been two people that have failed the program," Bijou said. "We had one patient who was referred by their first shirt because the shirt had concerns about their drinking, and the person came in very angry and didn't want to be here. But after six weeks, the individual told their first sergeant, 'Thank you for helping me,' and now they're doing really well."

For those who need help, ADAPT will be there, said Bennett.

"If you come to ADAPT, you will not get into trouble," she said. "This is a clinical treatment facility, so Privacy Act and (Health Insurance Portablity and Accountability Act) apply. We're here to help people get back to contributing to the mission."

For more information on all of the programs offered at ADAPT, call (575) 572-5676.