Zero tolerance for drug use ensures military readiness of Delaware Air National Guard Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
  • 166th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
There is zero toleration for drug use in the DoD, the Air Force, the National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Delaware Air National Guard or the 166th Airlift Wing.

Airmen can lose their jobs if they test positive for an illegal substance.

The Delaware Air National Guard conducts a random drug-testing program using urinalysis-testing administered by the 166th Medical Group for the senior installation commander. It is a command program designed to enhance force readiness through deterrence and detection of illegal drug use.

No-notice testing can occur at any time, and anyone from the wing commander or other senior leaders to a brand new Airman can be required to report for urinalysis testing to detect illicit drugs in their body.

Some groups of Airmen, such as security forces, flyers, medical personnel and those in "Active Guard Reserve" (AGR) positions go through 100 percent testing, according to Chief Master Sgt. Collier in the 166th MDG.

"Don't gamble on your career. The odds are very much against you if make one mistake when it comes to detection of illicit drugs in your body," said Col. Dennis Hunsicker, vice commander, 166th Airlift Wing. "Be part of our large force of dedicated Citizen-Airmen who lean on each other as fellow Wingmen, always prepared and at the ready to serve our state and nation at home or abroad."

Air Force Instruction 44-120, Military Drug Demand Reduction Program, spells out the program details. It states that the Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDRP) directly impacts mission readiness, and that the Air Force does not tolerate the illegal or improper use of drugs by Air Force personnel.

Why is this behavior not tolerated? The AFI is clear; it states that the illegal or improper use of drugs is a serious breach of discipline, is not compatible with service in the Air Force, automatically places the member's continued service in jeopardy, and can lead to criminal prosecution resulting in a punitive discharge or administrative actions, including separation or discharge under other than honorable conditions.

The possession of any intoxicating substance described in the AFI, if done with the intent to use in a manner that would alter mood or function, is also prohibited. Failure to comply with the prohibitions contained in the AFI is a violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The AFI gives a straightforward reason for the program: "In order to ensure military readiness; safeguard the health and wellness of the force; and maintain good order and discipline in the service, the knowing use of any intoxicating substance, other than the lawful use of alcohol or tobacco products, that is inhaled, injected, consumed, or introduced into the body in any manner to alter mood or function is prohibited."

The Air Force Medical Service says this about alcohol and drug abuse: "Alcohol and drug abuse may be associated with distress and are often linked to a wide array of other problems that degrade mission effectiveness and personal quality of life. People undergoing stressful life events may turn to alcohol to help alleviate their distress. While the Air Force maintains a 'zero tolerance' policy for drug use, leaders should make every reasonable effort to retain members when problems with alcohol surface and help them return to full productivity."

All Airmen ought to heed the directive about zero tolerance for drug use - from the moment they are considering joining and the day they are sworn in, through their time in a student flight, through basic training and technical school, and throughout their career.