NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The Drug and Alcohol Program Advisors (DAPA) on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) are taking a proactive approach this February in deglamorizing drugs and alcohol and encouraging a healthy and productive lifestyle for the ship's crew.
The 'Gold Eagle' DAPA team plays a vital role in directing Sailors away from the temptation of drugs and alcohol, and toward alternate activities, leading to a more successful Navy career and healthy lifestyle.
From the first moment a new Sailor checks aboard Carl Vinson and attends the indoctrination class, the ship's DAPA reaches out to Sailors and offers alternatives to spending the night in town drinking alcohol.
Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SW) Marc Landry, of the ship's DAPA office, often talks to Sailors about the Navy's "zero tolerance" policy on drug use and underage drinking. Landry also stresses the importance of drinking responsibly by having a designated driver, and utilizing the command's Free Ride Card.
Carl Vinson's DAPA staff routinely tells Sailors that one of the best alternatives to substance abuse is the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) program on board.
"I always tell newly reporting Sailors to go to MWR, because we have one of the best MWR teams in the fleet," said Landry. "They offer a lot of things to do, as well as a chance to get out beyond the shipyard."
DAPA coordinator, Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Janet Davis explained the team's proactive approach in reaching Sailors before they ever develop a problem has been the key to success.
"A common misconception for newcomers to Virginia is that activities for single Sailors are sparse," said Davis. "Realistically, though, so many attractions and activities exist for our Sailors all throughout the Tidewater area, and at a decently low cost."
Landry expressed that, while the command does not tolerate substance abuse, Sailors who refer themselves to DAPA will be met with open arms and given necessary counseling and treatment in a safe environment.
"We help the individual through the process in a timely fashion, letting them know who they need to see and what type of counseling or treatment they may need while they are in the program," said Landry.
Davis said she hopes that by providing Sailors with information on alternative activities and tips on healthy living, such as MWR sponsored activities, that crew members will thrive on sobriety and pursue fulfilling careers and personal endeavors.
"Sailors sometimes forget why they joined the Navy," said Davis. "Maybe they wanted to experience something new or learn about a new culture, but instead they fell back into their old ways. Our goal is to remind them why they are here in the first place and help them achieve what they had set out to do."
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.