Navy Announces New Tool to Educate Sailors About Responsible Alcohol Use

 

While the vast majority of Sailors who do consume alcohol do so responsibly, the Navy has now given its commanders a new tool to use in their efforts to reduce irresponsible use of alcohol among those at their commands, continuing the Navy’s aggressive efforts to provide Sailors with the resources they need to make responsible choices.

As part of the 21st Century Sailor/Marine Initiative, the Navy announced today that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus approved the use of alcohol detection devices to promote safety, provide education and awareness that complement other unit efforts to promote responsible use of alcohol and deter alcohol abuse.

Under the new OPNAV Instruction 5350.8, random ADD inspections are authorized for all on-duty service members who are assigned to a Navy unit during normal working hours. The intent of this policy is not to inspect those in an authorized leave or liberty status.

While at work, Sailors must be ready and able to carry out their assigned duties. Service members who drink excessively or late into the night and report for duty under the influence of alcohol place themselves, their shipmates and the Navy’s equipment at risk.

ADDs will help identify those service members who may require support before an incident occurs due to the irresponsible use of alcohol. The nature of the program is to promote safety,  education and awareness, complementing other Navy efforts to deter alcohol abuse.

Here’s what you need to know about the new program:

    • ADDs are to be used only as an educational tool that complements command initiatives to deter irresponsible use of alcohol and to assist with identifying service members who may require support and assistance with alcohol use decisions.
    • The information gathered from testing cannot be used as evidence for disciplinary proceedings or as a basis alone for adverse administrative action. However, commanding officers may use ADD results as a basis to further evaluate a service member’s fitness for duty through use of a Competence for Duty examination.
    • In any case where the ADD reading is 0.02 percent BAC or greater, the service member should be retested after a 20-minute waiting period to allow for the effects of any mouthwash, breath spray, gum or mint that may produce detectable results to clear.
    • A service member whose ADD-indicated reading is 0.04 percent BAC or greater will be classified as not ready to safely perform duties, and will be relieved of duty and kept on board the command in a safe and secure environment until an ADD-indicated reading is no longer detectable. Additional non-punitive action focused on safety, training, counseling and education may be implemented at the CO’s discretion.
    • Commands will take the lead for additional actions following a positive ADD reading and may refer a service member to the Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor for any reading of 0.04 percent BAC or greater. Command referrals to the DAPA are not considered alcohol-related incidents.
    • A service member, who has previously completed alcohol rehabilitation treatment, with an ADD indicated reading of 0.02 percent BAC or greater shall, at a minimum, be referred to the DAPA.
    • Service members who refuse to submit to an ADD inspection may face appropriate disciplinary or administrative action.

What do you think of the plan?