Drugs don't fly with Altus AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kenneth W. Norman
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
"Drugs don't fly with us" the unofficial motto of the Drug Demand Reduction team here, and a phrase Air Force DDR managers hope all Airmen will take to heart.

"The Department of Defense uses one of the strongest drug use deterrents in the world - random drug testing," said Mrs. Donna L. Butte, DDR Program Manager here. "DDR's mission is to enhance mission readiness by eliminating drug abuse through prevention, education, community outreach and random drug testing."

"Every base has a DDR program which is responsible for providing a drug-free Air Force," Mrs. Butte said. "The program is set up to randomly check military and civilian members on base to ensure a drug-free workplace."

Here, the DDR program uses a computer to select individuals for random drug testing.

All military and civilian employees are in the database for random drug testing, Mrs. Butte said. The DDR program collects approximately 100 military and 100 civilian samples per month.

Members can also be tested if their commander requests a member's consent to test or directs them to provide a urinalysis, Mrs. Butte said. Commanders can also request a unit sweep at any time for their entire squadron.

On any given night, after-hour drug testing can also occur at the main gate.

After collection the servicemembers' samples are sent to the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory at Brooks City-Base, Texas, said Mrs. Butte. Civilian samples are sent to the U.S. Army Drug Laboratory in Maryland. Samples are tested for amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, opioids and marijuana. If required, testing for other drugs can be performed.

"Positive results do have negative consequences," Mrs. Butte said. "Individuals with positive results could face an administrative discharge or court-martial."

It is because of the severity of these consequences that the Air Force strives to ensure precise results, Mrs. Butte said.

Immediately after the samples are collected, members must verify that their bottle has the correct social security number and that it has not been tampered with, Mrs. Butte said. The member also signs a testing register verifying the sample being taken is his or hers. The bottle is then sealed in the member's presence and a strict chain of custody is followed.

Headquarters Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory, Brooks City-Base, Texas, takes multiple precautions to ensure results are 100 percent accurate, Mrs. Butte said. Before reporting a positive result for a member's specimen, standard operating procedures require three separate tests using three separate portions of the specimen, all of which must return a positive result.

The three separate tests are the initial screen test, the rescreen test and the confirmation test. If at any of these stages the specimen gives a negative result, meaning no drug was detected above the Department of Defense cut-off level, the negative result is reported and the specimen is destroyed. Any specimen reported as positive is retained by the laboratory for a period of up to one year to enable retesting to be conducted if requested.

The DDR program is definitely a deterrent for not using drugs, Mrs. Butte said. When the Air Force first started testing, detection rates were around 14 percent. Now they are less than one percent.

"Individuals who think they won't get caught are playing Russian roulette," Mrs. Butte said. "It's only a matter of time before they are tested."

In addition to random drug testing, DDR has an outreach program here, which is available to educate anyone, anywhere and provide drug prevention and educational information.
Please visit the bottom right of Altus AFB's home page for more information about the DDR program.