The station’s Drug Demand Reduction Program was selected as the winner of the 22nd annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award, marking the second time the station has earned the honor in a row.
Every year, DDRPs from throughout the Marine Corps and entire Department of Defense submit packages detailing why they should receive the award to the SecDef.
The program aims to eliminate drug abuse within the Corps, and accomplishes their mission through education and coordinating drug urinalysis tests.
The DDRP doesn’t work alone, and gives credit for their honors to the Marines and others who help them.
“This isn’t just a DDRP award,” said Virgil Tapispisan, station DDRP coordinator. “The Substance Abuse Control Officers from the squadrons are the ones taking care of the Marines. They are the driving force of the DDRP. We work with the substance abuse counselors, Semper Fit, Single Marine Program and alcohol abuse prevention counselors to make sure that are Marines are good to go at all times.”
The DDRP also worked with Marine Corps Community Services to initiate the Warrior Ride, a drug-free ride from Yuma to Lake Havasu, Ariz.
“What makes our program unique is the outstanding relationships we’ve built with the SACOs,” added Kate Osborn, station alcohol abuse prevention specialist. “It makes it so much easier for us to communicate with them.”
Other educational programs used to educate Marines and sailors include Faces of Meth, showing before and after pictures of methamphetamine users. A computer program also takes a picture of a person and shows what they would look like after using meth for a prolonged period of time.
Tapispisan also teaches Marines, Sailors and local high school students the dangers of synthetic drugs such as Spice and bath salts.
While Tapispisan is eager to pass the credit to others for the award, he also readily admits he’s awesome, too.
“We aren’t done yet,” said Tapispisan. “There’s still work to do and we’ll shoot for the award again next year.”
Any plans for a three-pete victory? Of course! Tapispisan, who is almost infatuated with his own long hair, has agreed to let the SACOs cut his hair if the station wins again next year. Tapispisan received his last hair cut in 2003, so there’s plenty of locks to be shorn, which he’ll donate to Locks of Love, a charity that accepts hair to create wigs for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.