CHEYENNE – Through the Wyoming Service Member, Family, Employer, Readiness Support Team (S-FERST) programs, units and individual Soldiers can access programs to improve their lives. Jeremy Bay administers multiple programs as the alcohol drug control officer to assist service members in the state.
His services include training and prevention, interventions, case management and referrals to reputable civilian-based services for those fighting addiction. He also helps Soldiers express their concerns to command through surveys.
The emphasis of the programs he runs is to prevent problems before they get out of hand and to provide useful information.
Bay teaches a course called “Own Your Limits” (ownyourlimits.org), a Department of Defense program in which Soldiers learn to make better decisions. The training helps Soldiers understand alcohol and its effects on the body, the equivalency of drinks and how long a drink affects a person.
“We are focused on prevention,” said Bay. “We focus on unit-level training, teaching Soldiers how to make good choices and better choices.”
Commanders can schedule prevention training for their units to educate Soldiers on the effects of substance abuse in their lives and in their careers.
It is commonly known that Soldiers who smoke marijuana or do other drugs can expect to damage their careers. Soldiers who drink heavily can also damage their career and their reputation with fellow Soldiers and leadership.
Soldiers may not realize the tools that are available to help them if they “self-refer” by seeking help. By talking to Bay, a chaplain, a non-commissioned officer, medic or even their commander, Soldiers can begin the process that assists them in regaining control of their lives. Bay can refer them to accredited civilian clinicians and, if the Soldier chooses, manage their cases to help them get the most during recovery. It is important that Soldiers know they should not wait to self-refer until an impending urinalysis. Waiting until a pending urinalysis to self-refer, or failing a urinalysis makes it harder to help a Soldier.
“Command referral” is what happens if a Soldier fails a urinalysis. If the command does not separate the Soldier from service, he or she will fall under case-management with Bay or his colleague Kim Dreyer. A case manager evaluates a Soldier’s needs, plans and organizes treatment and monitors to make sure treatment is working. This process is the same as if the Soldier self-referred, but at this point his or her choices may be limited, with damage to his or her reputation and possibly career. This is why Bay encourages Soldiers not to wait, but to seek help early.
The drug and alcohol abuse prevention program is only one of the areas Bay focuses on to help Soldiers. Another important area is suicide prevention. Bay organizes programs in the WyARNG for suicide prevention. He teaches the Ask, Care, Evaluate (ACE) program as well as the Ask, Care, Evaluate, Suicide Intervention (ACE-SI) and Applied, Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).
The programs Bay teaches help equip Soldiers who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or for those who have friends and family struggling. He wants Soldiers to know there is help available. At some point though, everyone will know someone who needs help. Soldiers should know where to find that help.
Soldiers needing assistance with an intervention for to prevent a suicide should call 800-273-8255, a national suicide prevention hotline and veterans crisis hotline. They can also text 741741.
Soldiers needing any information for a drug or alcohol related concern, or to self-refer, can contact Jeremy Bay at 307-772-5224.