Military News

Thursday, October 29, 2015

JBER protects youth from drugs

by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales
JBER Public Affairs

10/28/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Drugs and substance abuse may seem like an escape, but addictions bind the body, and youth can't grow properly in that environment.

Being educated and aware of the danger drugs and substance abuse carry with it is one way to avoid falling into that habit to begin with.

Red Ribbon Week is a national celebration in honor of Enrique Camarena, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, and his efforts on the war on drugs.  This event, always the last week of October, encourages teaching youth about the negative effects of drug and substance abuse.

The 2015 national Red Ribbon theme is 'Respect yourself. Don't do drugs.'

"Respecting yourself means looking at yourself everyday and treating yourself like you would treat someone you loved most in the world," said Kristofer Calhoun, 13 years old, winner of the 2015 National Red Ribbon Theme contest from Solon Middle School, Solon, Ohio. "If you do drugs, you really don't have self-confidence and you don't respect yourself."

Many events on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson throughout the month of October were hosted by local schools and youth centers, with the Army Substance Abuse Program providing information at the Base Exchange and dining facilities.

Substance abuse is a danger for all ages, but children don't know as much as adults do so instead of educating about recovery and controlled use, Red Ribbon Week supports drug prevention practices.

"It's not about us, it's about the youth and informing them about drugs and substance abuse," said Theresita Cliett, JBER ASAP risk reduction program coordinator. "You're never too young to know."

Children can misunderstand the use of substances like alcohol and medication. If unsupervised, these substances can cause severe harm.

JBER has many community resources for information about alcohol, drugs and other substance abuse.

The JBER hospital is home to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Treatment clinic which works collaboratively with commanders and first sergeants to provide individualized and tailored treatment to meet the patient's goals with minimal impact on the mission.

The ASAP, available on JBER-Richardson, offers prevention education and rehabilitation. Their mission is to support overall effectiveness through the elimination of drug and substance abuse.

"Seventy-five percent of substance abuse is alcohol. Twenty-five percent is all drugs, and more than half of that percentage is from prescription drugs," said George R. Mongar, ASAP certified employee assistance professional.

Illegal drug and prescription drug abuse have some similarities, but the latter is often a little more subtle. Prescription drug abuse can be identified anytime a patient uses the substance outside the doctor's intent.

Whether it's swallowing pain meds for the numbness or drinking until you black out every weekend, it is all considered abuse -and children should be educated about these things too.

The Red Ribbon Campaign pledge sets a few guidelines to protect children from the dangers of drugs. The pledge can be signed online at

For more information call ADAPT at 580-4952, and ASAP at 384-1418. For more information online visit, and

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