Responsible drinking begins with sound decisions

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Drinking alcohol is among the most common activities during social gatherings - yet responsible drinking is often overlooked during the heat of the moment.

Tech. Sgt. David VanHoose, 28th Medical Operations Squadron Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program NCO in charge, said practicing responsible drinking will definitely pay big dividends in the long run, especially during social occasions.

"Not many of us were taught healthy drinking habits," VanHoose said. "Those who have been know how to consume alcohol in a more healthy fashion, which in turn, lessens their likelihood of encountering negative health, social, legal or personal incidents."

VanHoose explained that the reason most people run into trouble when consuming alcohol is due to the fact that they have little to no experience drinking.

"Usually people who just turned 21, or those who only have a couple years of experience drinking, can benefit most from some guidance," said VanHoose. "They just want to go out and have fun, but don't realize yet what can happen if they don't have a plan - a designated driver or even a limit for how many drinks they have."

Senior Airman Catalina Bennett, 28th MDOS ADAPT technician, said the key to responsible drinking is understanding the reason people drink in the first place.

"Alcohol has a lot of different effects on the body and mind," explained Bennett. "Many abuse or use it as a coping mechanism, and that can lead to problems such as dependency and binge drinking. If people go out to drink knowing that it's to loosen them up or have a little more fun, then that's just fine as long as they know their limit, they have a safety plan, and they don't drive or engage in any other risky behaviors."

Bennett added that there are a number of resources at Ellsworth available to Airmen and their families can utilize, not only to better educate themselves on how to drink responsibly, but also to provide crucial help needed to properly deal with alcohol abuse.

"We're here to help make sure our people make the right choices," VanHoose said. "That way they can still go out with friends and drink alcohol as long as they are legally of age and choose to do so, while staying mentally, spiritually, socially and physically fit and ready to serve their nation with honor and pride."

Airmen who are struggling with issues related to drugs or alcohol can find out more information, enroll in ADAPT, or sign up for a responsible drinking class by calling the 28th MDOS Mental Health Clinic at (605) 385-3656 or enrolling online in the Leadership Pathways website.

Classes are held monthly on the first Friday of every month in the Health and Wellness Center.