DUI - Why risk everything?

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Zachary Hada
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
While drinking alcohol is routinely included as part of some social gatherings - drinking responsibly is at times overlooked.

Airmen should know that when they decide to drink and drive, they put everything on the line ranging from their careers, well-being and the lives of everyone around them.

Tech. Sgt. David Vanhoose, 28th Medical Operations Squadron Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment NCO in charge, said that practicing responsible drinking could make the difference between an Airmen going to jail or going back to their normal lives.

"The problem with drinking is when Airmen cross into the drunken phase and they put themselves at great risk," Vanhoose said. "When judgment is gone, what is left? Not the ability to always make the right decision. Regardless of the amount of alcohol consumed it is never ok to drive a vehicle."

Staff Sgt. Ashley Bacon, 28th MDOS Alcohol and Drug counselor, said the reason most Airmen run into trouble with alcohol is because they are unfamiliar with potential risks associated with drinking.

"Responsible people do not use alcohol to cope with stress or to self-medicate," said Bacon, adding that people often drink as a way of escaping problems and some come to rely on it physically and mentally.

Staff Sgt. Catalina Bennett, 28th MDOS Alcohol and Drug counselor, emphasized that those old enough to drink should always have a plan before going out to drink.

"Having a plan is more than just having a designated driver," Bennett said. "It's also important to know your limit so you can plan how many drinks you are going to consume and make sure you stick to that number."

Vanhoose explained that Airmen can follow low-risk drinking guidelines, adding that men shouldn't consume more than four drinks per day and 14 per week while women shouldn't have more than three drinks per day and seven per week.

"Low risk doesn't mean no risk, even within these limits drinkers can experience problems if they drink to quickly, have health problems, or are older," Vanhoose said. "Based on an individual's health and how alcohol affects him or her, Airmen may need to drink less or not at all."

Bennett added that there are a number of resources at Ellsworth available to Airmen and their families to better educate themselves about responsible drinking and the dangers of alcohol abuse.

"We're here to make sure our people make the right choices," Bennet said. "It's important to have fun, but Airmen need to be able to take care of themselves while staying true to the Air Force's values."

Airmen who are struggling with issues related to drugs or alcohol can learn about enrolling in ADAPT, or sign up for a responsible drinking class by calling the 28th MDOS Mental Health Clinic at (605) 385-3656.