By Staff Sgt. Caleb Pierce
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Have you ever been called into your first sergeant’s office and received a sheet of paper to report to the Little Rock Air Force Base Drug Demand Reduction office?
The Little Rock AFB Drug Demand Reduction Program selects random individuals for a urinalysis drug test. The test provides the base commander with the results of individuals that tested positive.
“Every morning we come in and push a button from a database that lets us know whose going to be testing each day,” said Amy Johnson, 19th Medical Group Drug Demand Reduction Program manager. “Besides the stereotype, it is completely at random. We then notify the trusted agents in our agency to then notify the members.”
More than 500 service members and civilians are brought in monthly from across the base to provide a specimen for testing for substance abuse.
The DDR office can test for every illegal drug as well as prescription medication such as all pain medications, THC, cocaine, heroin, anti-depressants, anxiety pills, spice and any of the popular, trendy weekend drugs.
Despite the wide range of available drugs, service members and civilians are required to stay clean as well as be fit to fight.
“If you’re not healthy to be at work or do the mission then you’re no good to anyone,” said Staff Sgt. Brittani Newhouse, 19th Medical Group Drug Demand Reduction Program noncommissioned officer in charge. “Our mission is to ensure a fit and medically ready force.”
Given the military has a zero tolerance for drug use, it is imperative that members follow the guidelines that are in place.
“The program is important to ensure that Air Force members and civilians are following the regulations set forth by the Air Force’s zero tolerance policy,” said Johnson.
Testing positive and not following the zero tolerance policy can result in a numerous amount of consequences.
According to the 19th Airlift Wing Judge Advocate Office, consequences for testing positive for drugs include: court-martial, nonjudicial punishment, administrative paperwork denials of reenlistment, removal from Personnel Reliability Program, removal from duties involving firearms, removal from flying status or sensitive duties, suspension of security clearance, removal of restricted area badges.
Any illegal drug use by a military member initiates a mandatory discharge package, and the drug use may affect your discharge characterization (separated with a characterization below an Honorable, like an Under Honorable, or Under Other than Honorable Circumstances).
Keeping the Air Force clean is the main goal and part of the Air Force’s Comprehensive Airman Fitness domains. Staying drug free is one of the many ways all Airmen can ensure the mission continues to be a success.
Johnson says the DDR program is here to help keep the hard working Airmen safe. Anyone working on airplanes under the influence of any substance is neither safe for the base nor safe for the Air Force.