Army Makes Changes to Drug and Alcohol Program
Last month the army revised their drug and alcohol program by moving it under a division with medical expertise, and not the Installation Management Command.
Army Secretary John McHugh has dictated that the drug and alcohol abuse program is to be moved under Army Medical Command, a move that will be completed by October 2016. This means that “substance abuse counselors within mental health clinics will now be ‘embedded’ with combat brigades so that treatment is both more accessible and discreet,” rather than working in separate clinics on army bases (Ackerman, 2015).
The former clinical director of the army’s largest inpatient substance abuse program, Dr. Patrick Lillard, stated that, “. . . the substance abuse treatment program will be back in the province of medical people rather than command, so that decisions will be made by medical people” (Ackerman, 2015).
A USA Today investigative report from 2014 found that “half of all army treatment clinics fell below professional standards” and that “about ninety soldiers had committed suicide within three months of receiving treatment at a substandard level” (Ackerman, 2015). Additionally, over half of seven thousand soldiers given a clean bill of health should have been enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs as well as counseling.
Ackerman, M. (2015). Army revamps drug and alcohol abuse program. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/army-revamps-drug-and-alcohol-abuse-program