ADAPT kicks off 'That Guy' campaign

  • Published
  • By Holly Birchfield
  • 78 ABW/PA
Alcohol abuse is no laughing matter, but the "That Guy" campaign uses humor and other playful tactics to drive home the seriousness of the issue.

The Department of Defense-funded program which the Air Force began as a pilot program at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., made its debut at Robins Thursday, during the base's Environmental Safety and Occupational Health Fair.

Staff Sgt. Karen Vickers, NCOIC at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Treatment Program in the 78th Medical Operations Squadron, whose clinic oversees the campaign locally, said the program is a multimedia strategy prevention and education initiative designed to reduce heavy drinking among younger military members.

Sergeant Vickers said the program is intended to reduce alcohol abuse and raise awareness about the negative effects of excessive drinking.

"We're seeing a lot of alcohol-related incidents among our younger Airmen, and we're just trying to raise awareness of drinking responsibly," she said. "It's important to note that this is not an abstinence program. It's a program that emphasizes responsibility."

Larry Miller, ADAPT program manager in the 78th MDOS, said the program is intended to change Airmen's way of thinking.

"Part of the 'That Guy' campaign is that it targets the 18- to 24-year-old age range," he said. "That particular age group across the Air Force incurs 80 percent of the Air Force's alcohol-related incidents. The program is designed not to be an abstinence program, but it's to be more of a positive peer influence to get the attention of this age group."

Sergeant Vickers said the campaign uses a communications means that's popular among young Airmen to reach the age group, the Internet.

"It's an on and offline communication that encourages avoidance of binge drinking," she said.

Posters, games, and online communications are used to carry the message of responsible drinking to young people.

Senior Master Sgt. Tim Delaney, Alcohol Issues Working Group chairman at Robins, said the campaign is a step in the right direction.

"I think it's going to open up a lot of avenues with the younger generation," he said. "It uses chat rooms, the Internet, and all of the things that young folks are using to get the message out about responsible drinking."

Sergeant Delaney said the program deemphasizes the over indulgence of alcohol.

The AIWG chairman said it's just what Robins and other military installations need.

"I think it's a program that has been proven effective at other bases," he said. "We've tried all of the standard methods to cut drinking incidents down and encourage more responsible behaviors. I think this should open a lot of opportunities for people to volunteer and get involved."