CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Base officials began issuing blood-alcohol testing devices to unit commanders here April 1, moving forward with a Corpswide screening program scheduled to be fully implemented by summer. The Alcomate Premium breath alcohol testers will be used to deter Marines from having measurable amounts of alcohol in their system during duty hours. “A lot of people don’t understand that getting eight hours of sleep after a night of drinking may not be enough to get the alcohol out of your system,” said John J. Veneziano, director of the consolidated substance abuse counseling center here. “Most think that if they go to bed for a few hours, get up, shower and shave, they are okay to get on the road and head to work the next day.”
Program coordinators appointed by unit commands will administer breath screenings at least twice a year. “We introduced some of the Breathalyzers to some of the commands today and we gave them training on how to implement them and what to do if someone has measurable results,” said Veneziano. “We also gave training on a system we use called Intoxiclock, which is a tool to educate people on the effects of varied amounts of alcohol over varied periods of time based on weight, size and even gender.”
The Corps began the Acohol Screening Program Jan. 1 and according to Marine Administrative Message 709/12, service members found with a blood alcohol content of .01 percent or higher during regular working hours will be subject to counselling and treatment.
“People need to realize that the amount of time needed for the alcohol to leave their bodies is based on the amount of alcohol they consume,” said Veneziano. “We want Marines to have alcohol-free work environments.” Moreover those with a BAC of .04 percent or higher will be subject to a fit-for-duty assessment and corrective actions at the commands’ discretion. “The program is designed to identify alcohol misuse and abuse,” said Jerry Cole, substance abuse program specialist here. “Early identification and referral is the best chance that an individual has at getting the help they need. The earlier you identify them, the better chance they have of getting through it without damaging their careers.”