Health & Safety

July 26, 2012

“The Gold Book” is one risk prevention resource tool

Nick Gilmore, Risk Reduction Program Coordinator
Fort Huachuca Army Substance Abuse Program

The following vignette was taken from the 2012 Department of the Army report titled “Generating Health and Discipline in the Force: Ahead of the Strategic Reset,” also known as “The Gold Book”.

“[An Army] specialist tested positive for cocaine use in March 2007. He was not enrolled in ASAP (Army Substance Abuse Program) and a Department of the Army Form 4833 was never completed. Despite 15 negative urinalyses from October 2008 to January 2011, he self-enrolled in ASAP that month for cocaine abuse and marijuana and alcohol dependence. The Soldier was apprehended in July 2011 for assault consummated by a battery [domestic violence]. A review of law enforcement databases revealed these offenses were not the beginning or the end of the specialist’s high risk behavior; he was arrested for criminal trespass, marijuana possession and evading arrest in 2003 — three years prior to his delayed entry report date of August 2006.

While driving on an interstate highway on Nov. 15, 2011, the Soldier collided with another vehicle, killing himself and two others instantly and injuring two others. He had been driving the wrong way on the highway for two miles at the time of the accident. While drug and toxicology results are unknown at this time, packets of Spice were found in the specialist’s vehicle.”

This vignette highlights what may happen if high risk behavior goes unchecked. The Gold Book is intended for Army leaders; however, even a casual look through its contents will leave any reader with a lesson learned that can be taken out into the community that could lead to early intervention and improved Soldier and Family readiness. This information could assist the reader in detecting and responding to a number of potential problems they encounter in the workplace, their homes or somewhere in between.

The report covers several topics including: alcohol and illicit drug abuse; the challenges associated with chronic physical pain; behavioral health conditions; suicide; economic stressors; relationship-related issues; drug surveillance/detection; and crime. These are topics many people deal with on a daily basis at in their workplaces or in their homes.

There are also resources outside the home available in our community waiting to respond to whatever need is out there including: Army Community Service, Army Substance Abuse Program, Behavioral Health, the Post Chaplains Office, Military Family Life Consultants, Family Readiness Groups, Army One Source and many more.

In many cases the report describes how important surveillance, detection and response mechanisms are in diminishing the amount of incidents that result from high risk behavior.

Gen. Pete Chiarelli, the Army’s former vice chief of staff, wrote, “The necessary response to health and accountability will require active communication and collaboration among commanders, service providers and our Soldiers and Families.” His statement highlights the need for community involvement as a means of combating the damage that high risk behavior can create for a community. Throughout the report this theme is revisited several times.

It only makes sense that everyone in the community be armed with the facts of the challenges that face the U.S. Army. The goal is to respond early enough to a potential problem so that it doesn’t go unchecked and create a bigger problem as time passes.

Those interested in reading “The Gold Book” can find it online at

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