What do you do with a drunken sailor? That has been the question facing the US Navy for some time.
As part of the 21 Century Sailor/ Marine Initiative, the Navy announced today new measures (OPNAV Instruction 5350.8) to deter alcohol abuse. The Secretary Navy, Ray Mabus, approved alcohol detection devices as well as additional education and awareness measures in hopes to better promote safety and responsibility among the fleet.
The Navy pointed out:
While at work, Sailors must be ready and able to carry out their assigned duties. Service members who drink excessively or late into the night and report for duty under the influence of alcohol place themselves, their shipmates and the Navy’s equipment at risk.
The ADDs (Alcohol Detection Devices) are intended to identify those sailors who need additional support prior to an alcohol related incident or accident. The Navy stresses “the nature of this new program is to promote safety, education and awareness, complementing other Navy efforts to deter alcohol abuse.”
Randomized testing with the new ADDs are authorized for all on-duty sailors during normal working hours. This policy does not extend to inspections during authorized leave or liberty.
What to Expect
The Navy has released to us a list of what to expect under the new program.
- ADDs are to be used only as an educational tool that complements command initiatives to deter irresponsible use of alcohol and to assist with identifying service members who may require support and assistance with alcohol use decisions.
- The information gathered from testing cannot be used as evidence for disciplinary proceedings or as a basis alone for adverse administrative action. However, commanding officers may use ADD results as a basis to further evaluate a service member’s fitness for duty through use of a Competence for Duty examination.
- In any case where the ADD reading is 0.02 percent BAC or greater, the service member should be retested after a 20-minute waiting period to allow for the effects of any mouthwash, breath spray, gum or mint that may produce detectable results to clear.
- A service member whose ADD-indicated reading is 0.04 percent BAC or greater will be classified as not ready to safely perform duties, and will be relieved of duty and kept on board the command in a safe and secure environment until an ADD-indicated reading is no longer detectable. Additional non-punitive action focused on safety, training, counseling and education may be implemented at the CO’s discretion.
- Commands will take the lead for additional actions following a positive ADD reading and may refer a service member to the Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor for any reading of 0.04 percent BAC or greater. Command referrals to the DAPA are not considered alcohol-related incidents.
- A service member, who has previously completed alcohol rehabilitation treatment, with an ADD indicated reading of 0.02 percent BAC or greater shall, at a minimum, be referred to the DAPA.
- Service members who refuse to submit to an ADD inspection may face appropriate disciplinary or administrative action.
What do you think? What would you do with a drunken Sailor?
- Navy: Random alcohol tests for sailors in US (ktvb.com)
- Hand-held breathalyzer tests to be used Navy-wide (wvec.com)
- Corps’ New Year resolution: no on-duty Marines under the influence (utsandiego.com)
- US Marines to face random blood-alcohol tests (cnsnews.com)