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Health and Fitness

Alcohol Awareness Month

The Facts About Self-Referral

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the Navy Alcohol Abuse Prevention (NAAP) office encourages Sailors to not just make responsible choices if they choose to drink, but to take an honest look at their alcohol use. If you think your drinking is impacting your work or relationships, or if you suspect you may be struggling with addiction, the Navy's non-disciplinary self-referral process allows you to seek help and remain an active duty Sailor.

The intent of a self-referral is to provide you with a means of intervening in the progression of alcohol abuse early enough for you to get help before a problem becomes more advanced and more difficult to resolve without the risk of disciplinary action.

Have you ever wondered what the self-referral process is like? This recently released video testimonial from the Keep What You've Earned Campaign (KWYE) shows the real-life story of one chief's experience with seeking help. You can view the testimonial video above, and more information is available on the NAAP website.

Do you still have questions about the self-referral process? The following list answers some frequently asked questions about self-referral.

1. What exactly constitutes a self-referral?

A self-referral is an event that is personally initiated by the member. A member may initiate the process by disclosing the nature and extent of their problem to one of the following personnel who is actively employed in their capacity as a qualified self-referral agent:
(1) Drug and Alcohol Programs Advisor (DAPA)
(2) Commanding Officer, Executive Officer, Officer- in-Charge, or Command Master Chief (CMDCM)/Chief of the Boat (COB)
(3) Navy Drug and Alcohol Counselor (or intern)
(4) Department of Defense medical personnel, including Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP)
(5) Chaplain
(6) Fleet and Family Support Center Counselor

2. When should someone consider self-referring?

A member should consider self-referring if they desire counseling and treatment to address potential, suspected, or actual alcohol abuse or misuse.

3. Is there anything that could make a self-referral invalid, in which case the member would not be shielded from disciplinary action?

To be valid, the self-referral must be made only to one of the qualified self-referral agents listed above; it must be made with the intent of acquiring treatment, should treatment be recommended as a result of the screening process; and there can be no credible evidence of the member's involvement in an alcohol-related incident (ARI).

4. What do we mean by “non-disciplinary”?

This means that a member may not be disciplined merely for self-referring and participating in the resulting process of screening and treatment, if recommended. It does not mean that a member is necessarily shielded from the possible administrative consequences of treatment failure or the administrative or disciplinary consequences of refusing to participate in treatment recommended by the post-referral screening process.

5. Does making a self-referral count as an alcohol-related incident (ARI)?

No. Self-referral provides the means of early intervention in the progression of alcohol abuse by which members can obtain help before a problem becomes more advanced and more difficult to resolve without risk of disciplinary action.

6. What happens after someone makes a self-referral?

* Command will complete DAPA screening package and OPNAV 5350/7 Drug and Alcohol Abuse Report (DAR).
* Self-referrals shall be directed to the appropriate Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) for screening. Following screening, a medical officer or LIP will provide the member's command with a written screening summary and treatment recommendation.
* If treatment is recommend, the command will coordinate with the appropriate SARP facility based on availability, locality, and type of treatment needed.

7. Will other people know if I self-refer?

Yes. The member's chain of command, and others on a need-to-know basis, will be informed.

8. Will a self-referral mean that the Navy looks at other parts of my life/job performance?

Alcohol use issues are complex, and evaluation and treatment require a holistic view. Relevant information on the member's work and personal life may be required as part of the screening and treatment processes.

9. Can I re-enlist if I've self-referred?

Yes.

10. What are the levels of alcohol treatment?

* Level 0.5 Early Intervention/Education Program
* Level I Outpatient Treatment
* Level II Intensive Outpatient/Partial Hospitalization (lOP)
* Level III Inpatient Treatment

11. Will I lose my security clearance for self-referring?

No. Your security clearance may be jeopardized if your post-referral screening recommends treatment and you subsequently refuse that treatment.

12. Where can I get further information on the self-referral policy?

Refer to OPNAVINST 5350.4D for details and official policies. Questions may directed to the 21st Century Sailor Office, NAAP staff. Contact information is available at the NAAP website here.