FORT LEE, Va. (June 17, 2010) - The Army has implemented improvements in the way it delivers alcohol and drug-abuse services on its installations, combining all clinical services with testing, education, counseling, prevention and training under the oversight of the Installation Management Command.
Known as ASAP, Army Substance Abuse Program since 1994 it has been a divided function with clinical services residing with the Army Medical Command and all the other services consigned to Human Resources under the garrison command and ultimately IMCOM. This previous non-unified command and control approach created challenges, such as communication and coordination issues between the clinical and non-clinical services.
ASAP offices are located at all IMCOM-managed installations. In addition to serving Soldiers and units with substance abuse prevention services, ASAP provides federally mandated drug testing to civilian employees.
Currently, Fort Lee’s ASAP office is located in Kenner Army Health Clinic. While a move to a new location may happen in the future, there are no current plans for relocation, said Nancy Johnson, Fort Lee’s ASAP clinical director.
“Kenner and IMCOM are in preliminary discussions concerning the transition for ASAP to its new location,” said Johnson. “But no move is imminent and care will not be impacted. Upon completion of the transition we expect the same quality facilities and care we provide now.”
Johnson said she believes there will be no immediate noticeable impact, and talks are underway to improve the relationship between IMCOM and ASAP.
“With the transition we will have a closer working relationship with IMCOM and the assigned units, the goal will be to provide care in a public health model,” she said. “We understand that substance use disorders impact the whole family and utilizing the public health model will help us focus on the Soldier in his or her environment.”
To address the problems associated with the previous way of doing business, the new integration of services and command and control was directed by the Secretary of the Army to make ASAP more effective in addressing a surge in substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide by Soldiers and Family members brought on by the stresses of nine years at war. It became effective May 1.
“This is the right move at the right time for our Soldiers and Families and it’s a mission IMCOM is proud to take on,” said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, IMCOM commander. “Integrating ASAP at the installations will make a vital program even more effective in helping the Army Family thrive and maintain its resiliency.”
IMCOM has already borne much of the ASAP mission IMCOM has already borne much of the ASAP mission for many years, so the change may not be immediately obvious to customers and even staff. Yet adding the clinical services to the ASAP office’s existing workload is a significant realignment that will move people, equipment and facilities on the garrisons and ensure the resources are properly matched up against the Soldier and Family requirements.
Johnson said she thinks the move will improve services for its customers.
“My hope and belief is that the realignment will allow us to build an even closer working relationship with IMCOM and MEDDAC to improve the quality of care and the integration of care for our Soldiers and their families,” she said.
This major movement is Phase I of the realignment operation that will proceed through January 2011. Garrison commanders will provide the facilities and equipment, recruit and train staff where needed, and carry out effective communications to ensure ASAP customers and stakeholders understand the changes and can find an ASAP office if it’s relocated. IMCOM will be further refining and improving the program over the next couple of years as lessons are learned and clinical research experiences are studied.