Drug Demand Reduction Program: Fortifying mission readiness one sample at a time

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs

The Drug Demand Reduction Program at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the first line of defense against the threat illegal drug use and abuse poses to the base’s workforce and mission.

Five days a week, excluding federal holidays, the DDRP staff randomly selects military members and civilians who are subject to random drug testing to provide urine samples.

Rolando Decker, Robins DDRP manager, said his staff uses Air Force-developed drug testing software that selects individuals’ names on a random basis for drug testing.

“The DDRP staff utilizes this software on a daily basis to determine who will be selected for testing on that particular day,” he said. “Once the software makes all the selections, the DDRP staff sends out the notification letters to trusted agents.”

Decker said trusted agents are individuals who are appointed by their commanders or directors to receive and maintain rosters of individuals selected for drug testing.

“They are responsible for making the daily notifications of all military members selected for testing,” he said. “Civilian employees follow a similar process for notification, but the trusted agent notifies the employee’s immediate supervisor who, in turn, notifies the civilian employee for testing.”

While all active-duty military and Reservists are subject to drug testing at any time, Decker said only civilian employees serving in a Testing Designated Position are subject to random drug testing.

“A civilian employee must be aware that they’re in a Testing Designated Position. They must sign a letter acknowledging that they are aware and that they know they are subject to random drug testing,” he said.

Currently, there are more than 4,000 military and nearly 5,000 civilian employees that are subject to drug testing at any time, Decker said.

Typically, positions that require an individual to possess a Top Secret clearance or higher may be designated for drug testing, Decker added. 

“Testing Designated Positions are characterized by their critical safety or security responsibilities as it relates to the mission,” he said. “These positions are selected by the Air Force and have a direct and immediate impact on public health and safety, the protection of life and property, law enforcement, or the United States’ national security. These positions require the highest degree of trust and confidence.”

Decker said while there are other types of testing that are conducted, the random drug test is the most common form of drug testing that is conducted at Robins.

On any given weekday, from 6 a.m. – 4 p.m., the DDRP staff collects anywhere from 20 to 300 samples. Those samples are then packed and shipped to either the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, or to the Department of the Army Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Decker said the samples will be analyzed and results will be sent back to the DDRP at Robins.

Positive drug test results are addressed by different on-base offices, based on whether the person is military or civilian.

“When a positive drug test is received for a military member, the 78th Security Forces Squadron Investigations Office is contacted and provided the information regarding the positive sample,” Decker said. “Then, the base legal office, the individual’s commander and first sergeant, and the Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevent and Treatment Program are notified.”

For civilian employees with a positive drug test result, Decker said the Employee Relations Office or the base’s Human Resources Office is notified and they handle the process from start to finish.

Decker said the DDRP is important to the Air Force’s mission success.

“The DDRP is important to Robins Air Force Base’s mission, as well as to the overall Air Force mission, because illegal drug use negatively impacts all aspects of a person’s life, to include their health, mind and ability to make responsible decisions,” he said. “When a person is under the influence of an illegal substance, they can’t effectively perform their duties, which has a snowball effect.

“Whether it’s a cook, mechanic or doctor, the Air Force needs everyone to be free from the harmful effects of illegal drugs so that they may perform their duties to the best of their abilities, which leads to mission success,” Decker said.