Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA Teams Up with Air Force Reserve Command on Prevention Training

In support of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative to improve the behavioral health of the nation’s military families, SAMHSA’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT) recently delivered a Substance Abuse Prevention Training to members of the United States Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC).

About 45 AFRC Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDRP) technicians and other AFRC prevention leaders from across the country gathered in Atlanta, GA, for the five-day training, held June 27 to July 1, 2011. The DDRP provides compulsory random drug testing and anti-drug education for the AFRC’s 71,000 reservists.

The training series was first piloted in July 2009 after DDRP Manager Dr. Don Jenrette approached SAMSHA for help in bringing evidence-based prevention education to the AFRC.

“What we were doing—handing out program promotional items—was not working for us,” Jenrette explains. “We needed a measurable and sustainable initiative that would drive down the number of positive drug testing results by our reservists.”

Since then, CAPT trainers have continued to refine the training so that it helps build the substance abuse prevention knowledge and skills of the DDRP technicians. The current training focuses on prevention and outreach strategies for promoting well-being and increasing reservists’ awareness of available behavioral health resources. It also addresses connections between substance use and other difficult issues that service members face, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, traumatic brain injury, and the emotional impact of deployment on family relationships.

Specifically, the training curriculum covers such topics as:

  • Introduction to substance abuse prevention
  • Prevention research
  • Prevention planning
  • Environmental strategies
  • Cultural competency and inclusion
  • Evaluating prevention
  • Developing effective collaborations
  • Prevention ethics

This was the third time the CAPT delivered the prevention training to this group. To prepare for the event, CAPT staff partnered with members of a core AFRC Prevention Strategy Team (PST) to plan, deliver, and evaluate the training. PST members will continue working with CAPT trainers to provide follow-up technical assistance that helps participants apply what they learned to their work. All participants left the training with an individually tailored and action-oriented substance abuse prevention plan to employ at their respective AFRC bases.

 

If the evaluation results are similarly positive to those of last year’s training, this collaborative project of SAMHSA and the AFRC is expected to continue through 2014. For more information, e-mail CAPT Project Associate Matt Biewener (mbiewener@edc.org).

For information on other SAMHSA activities to support military families please visit http://www.samhsa.gov/MilitaryFamilies/

 

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