August 9, 2012

5 Questions: Sgt. Austin Wethington

MACS-1 Substance Abuse Control Officer

1.  What are the functions of the Substance Abuse Control Officer?

The function of a Substance Abuse Control Officer is to provide physical, mental, emotional, and moral support and education for Marines that are going through trials and tribulations with drugs or alcohol. I am supposed to be the embodiment of positive reinforcement. I am here to maintain records, be the liaison in providing my Marines the opportunity for education and treatment, as well as create and maintain a proactive random urinalysis program in order to keep my Marines guessing everyday as to whether or not they will be providing a urine sample. I am here to support and educate my squadron, as well as any other SACOs that could require my assistance. I am here to make observations, and advise my leadership when necessary, as well as educate my squadron on happenings around the world with drugs and alcohol, in hopes of preventing them from making poor decisions, and possibly endangering their own lives in the process.


2. How do you determine the substance abuse prevention needs of your unit?

Knowing the prevention needs of my unit is a constant battle that I fight. This is because my unit is comprised of numerous different kinds of Marines. Not every Marine is going to respond to prevention techniques the same way, so it is up to my counterparts, leadership, and I to strive every day to discover new ways of appealing to a Marine’s better judgment. There are many different successes and objectives, but the necessary path will vary every time, so open-minded observations are a necessity in this field. I have to know my Marines, and how to help them understand why I’m here and what I’m willing and able to do for them.


3. What help do you provide those identified as alcohol/drug abusers?

The help provided in my office covers a wide spectrum of any reasonable request or need presented. If they need advice, I’ll give it my best effort. If they need an ear to vent to, I’ll close the door and listen. If they need education or information, I’ll provide it, or claw my way through the gates of Mordor to find it for them. If they require treatment, then I will ensure that I exhaust every effort possible to afford them the opportunity to succeed. I am a supportive and intuitive soul, and value my Marines as much as I value my own self. I cannot succeed without my fellow Marines, so it is my duty, as well as my honor, to be able to aid and support them as they strive to put the pieces back in place.


4. Do you think drug testing helps in reducing illegal drug use in the Corps?

I believe that the drug testing program does indeed help to reduce the use of illegal drugs when put into used properly. I believe this because the random urinalysis program helps to make Marines second guess the decision to use because they never know when they’re going to have to come in and provide a sample. The program can definitely be utilized to instill the fear of being caught when it is used properly


5.  What services do you offer the Marines/Sailors in your unit?

The services offered in my office cover a wide range as well. My SACO office offers everything from knowledge about drug and alcohol use and abuse, to a comfortable place for somebody to approach me about a problem without being judged, or ostracized for previous decisions made. I offer anything from small talk about life, to any sort of advice I can give from personal experience or general knowledge. I am a shoulder to cry on when necessary, and a force to be reckoned with if my Marines need me.

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