RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
With the Air Force's designation of December as "Responsible Alcohol Use Month," commanders are reminding Airmen to drink moderately, with safety in mind - or to abstain all-together if they so choose.
Abstinence, moderation and safety are hallmarks of the "CORC"-- the "Culture of Responsible Choices" - a mindset the Air Force continually emphasizes to all Airmen and civilian employees, said Staff Sgt. Brian Hornberger, 12th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy and Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program NCO-in-charge.
Sergeant Hornberger said the "0-0-1-3" policy campaign is advertised throughout the Air Force and is a big part of CORC.
0-0-1-3 means zero drinks if under 21 years of age; zero DUIs; one drink per hour, maximum -- and three drinks in one night, maximum.
It applies continually, and Airmen need to internalize and heed it during the holidays, during parties when people tend to drink more and many alcohol-based automobile mishaps occur.
Capt. (Dr.) John Waggoner, 12th MDOS clinical psychologist, said there are severe consequences to drinking and driving that Airmen need to know.
They include potential death, disfigurement, disability and injury to self or others; trauma and financial costs of a crash or arrest; jail time; loss of license; higher insurance rates; attorney and court fees, car towing and repair; lost time at work; and finally, embarrassment, humiliation and potential loss and consequences after informing family, friends and commanders.
"It's disheartening when we get Airmen in here who've put in ten, fifteen or close to twenty years in the Air Force and they have a DUI or an alcohol-related incident," Captain Waggoner said.
Sergeant Hornberger added that healthcare providers will, during an admission for treatment or evaluation after a mishap, ask if alcohol was used before. If it was the occurrence may be labeled as an alcohol-related mishap. Follow-up Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program evaluation would then be mandatory.
Sergeant Hornberger said the time for making responsible choices about using alcohol starts before drinking.
"Designate a sober driver before the party or celebration begins," he said. "Make a plan and stick to it. Have a sober wingman or be one."
Other points Sergeant Hornberger enumerated about responsible alcohol use during a party setting included:
· Arrive late and leave early.
· Eat before you drink, especially high-protein foods like cheeses and meats.
· Avoid the bar area.
· Drink slowly.
· If offered a refill, just say, 'No, thank you.' You do not have to explain.
· Or go non-alcohol. No one will ever know that you only have cola in your glass.
· Do not leave your drink unattended.
· Stay busy. Talk to others, dance, etc.
· Remember that there is no way to sober up quickly.
· Don't even think about getting behind the wheel of your vehicle if you've been drinking.
· Instead, call a taxi, use mass transit or get a sober friend or family member to come get you; or stay where you are and sleep it off.
· Remember "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk." Take their keys.
· Never ride with a person who has been drinking or doing drugs. And have a back-up plan if you need a ride home.
If hosting a party where alcohol is served, Sergeant Hornberger also stressed:
Be prepared to take car keys - in fact, collect them when guests arrive.
· The role as a responsible party host is to prevent friends from becoming the next alcohol-related statistic and to provide an environment where everyone can enjoy themselves.
· Invite people who will like each other and have fun together.
· Have a designated bartender or serve drinks yourself, so that you can control the amount served.
· Use standard measures. Mix alcohol with non-carbonated drinks to slow absorption.
· Always have alcohol-free drinks available.
· Ensure drinking is not the primary focus. Plan group activities -- music, dance, games, pool, movies.
· Serve foods high in protein. Avoid salty snacks, which make people want to drink more.
· Do not rush to refill empty glasses.
· Do not let anyone underage drink alcohol.
· Don't drink too much yourself.
· Stop serving alcohol 1-2 hours before the party is over. Serve alcohol- free drinks, coffee and food instead.
· Ensure all your guests leave with a sober driver.
· Offer to call a taxi or let them stay and sleep it off.