U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Army Substance Abuse Program is the best in the Army. Last month, the garrison was awarded the 21st Annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award for its outreach efforts during fiscal year 2010.
The award, presented Oct. 20 in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, recognizes the top drug awareness programs in each of the services and National Guard that exemplify the Defense Department’s best efforts to promote healthy, drug-free lifestyles. This is the second time the garrison has earned the prestigious honor. The ASAP program also won for fiscal year 2008.
“Over the years, we have refined our program, incorporating best practices and the lessons we’ve learned,” said Dr. Bala Fischer, USAG Stuttgart ASAP manager.
“Operation Care,” Stuttgart ASAP’s 2010 outreach campaign, focused on “caring for the community’s well-being by promoting healthy lifestyles and combating substance and alcohol abuse,” said Dr. Howard Krout, the Employee Assistance Program coordinator who oversaw the outreach program.
The aim of the campaign was to not only change people’s attitudes and behaviors about alcohol consumption and substance abuse, but to offer alcohol-free social activities and aggressively combat drunken driving, he said.
Krout, Leslie Sweeney, prevention coordinator, and volunteer Ann Pugh, campaign coordinator, took a hands-on approach, providing visibility to the campaign by handing out ice scrapers to motorists as they drove on to installations, participating in yoga classes during Suicide Awareness Month, promoting drug education and awareness at the annual newcomers information fair, and encouraging community members to turn in expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications to kick off Drug Awareness Month.
“We have to keep awareness up in the community and get people to think about alcohol, drugs and tobacco and the consequences of their use,” Krout said.
From working closely with the Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Service counselors at the schools to providing training to units and organizations, to committing resources for Red Ribbon Week, ASAPs’ efforts benefit active duty military, civilians and family members, according to Fischer, the ASAP manager.
“It’s community outreach in the truest sense of the word,” he said.
But it took more than ASAP to win the top Army award.
“We didn’t do it alone,” said Fischer, adding that ASAP collaborated with many other organizations, such as the Stuttgart Training Support Center; Safety Office; Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Army and Air Force Exchange Service; the health clinic; fitness centers and local schools.
“It was a team effort,” Fischer said.