The ASAC prevention education program includes information and skill-building activities designed to increase protective factors such as life skills, decision-making skills, and prosocial support for dealing with parental deployment, reintegration, and transition, as well as to minimize risk factors related to transition. Prevention is delivered both in the classroom for whole groups of students and in a counseling format for subgroups and individuals within a school. Students identified as at further risk based on a request for help, a reported behavioral or substance use event, or a substance use assessment are referred for additional intervention. The prevention education component of ASAC is relevant to all stages of military involvement, with the possible exception of the postmilitary stage. While the program does not specify a theoretical basis in its standard operating procedures, it draws from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) guidelines for addressing risk and protective factors in school-based skills training programs.
Beyond prevention activities, the ASAC program provides extensive assessments to determine whether individuals need more intensive services. Counselors use the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria to determine the appropriate level of care for referral if further intervention is needed. The standard operating procedures also detail many quality-assurance activities that are built into the program, including completing utilization reviews of all activities and maintaining a clinical quality-assurance plan (U.S. Army, 2011).
The committee finds that this contracted program provides a comprehensive set of services that meet standards of care for SUD prevention and early interventions for youth. The committee is unaware of the availability of the ASAC program across different branches and military sites. Also unknown is the effectiveness of the program as no formal outcome evaluations have been conducted with the target population.
Additional Programs and Initiatives
Military OneSource is an online source of information on many topics, including 800 telephone numbers of “consultants,” the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the Safe Helpline for Sexual Assault Support. DoD describes Military OneSource as
a free service provided by the Department of Defense to service members and their families to help with a broad range of concerns including money management, spouse employment and education, parenting and child care, relocation, deployment, reunion, and the particular concerns of families with special-needs members. They can also include more complex issues like relationships, stress, and grief. Services are available 24 hours a day—by telephone and online. Many Military OneSource staff members have military experience (veterans, spouses, Guardsmen, Reservists), and