OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
Excessive use of alcohol continues to be a problem across the Air Force, but Osan has an even larger obstacle: soju.
This tasteless alcoholic beverage can contain up to 40 percent alcohol by volume, making it difficult for consumers to recognize their drinking limits.
Osan’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program seeks to combat this issue through its two-hour “Soju Think You Can Drink” course slated to begin Aug. 16 at the Mustang Resiliency Center.
“We’ve designed a course specifically for Osan because our problem is overconsumption, which accounts for 85% of our referrals that can lead back to soju,” said Maj. Relinda Hatcher, 51st Medical Operations Squadron ADAPT program manager.
There are over 100 local bars to choose from outside Osan’s gates, which can lead to an abundance of alcohol use.
“You will not get that atmosphere anywhere else,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Hancock, 51st MDOS ADAPT alcohol and drug counselor. “The culture at Osan is all about high operations tempo; we work hard, so sometimes we expect ourselves to play hard.”
Alcohol is the most widely-used recreational drug among military service members, though the majority of users consume in moderation. Drinking responsibly is what ADAPT wants to encourage.
“It’s not about shaming alcohol,” said Hatcher. “You can go and have a good time without having to visit us. The information from this course will help regulate your use, so overconsumption isn’t a problem.”
During the course, the ADAPT clinic will educate attendees about acceptable alcohol use, have open discussions and hands-on exercises.
“This course will allow us to be more interactive with individuals, so they can make better judgments when consuming,” said Hatcher.
In addition to education about self-use, “Soju Think You Can Drink” touches on “Step Up, Step In,” a 51st Fighter Wing initiative promoting the core concepts of leadership and wingmanship in and out of the uniform.
“We press on the fact it is your business when something looks out of place and you should safely get involved in those situations,” said Hatcher. “We wouldn’t leave an Airman behind on the battlefield, so we shouldn’t leave one alone on the street at night.”
For more information about “Soju Think You Can Drink,” contact ADAPT at 784-2149.