Late Breaking News
Army Drug-Testing Chief Wants to Keep Soldiers Out of Harm’s Way
- Categorized in: May 2012
By Steve Lewis
FORT KNOX, KY — For Lt. Col. Shaun Bailey, his work as chief of the drug testing branch at the Army Center for Substance Abuse Programs is part of a mission that has inspired his military career.
Lt. Col. Shaun Bailey
“I feel a personal responsibility to make things right for the people in the Army who are put in harm’s way,” Bailey explained, saying that he also feels obligated to uphold the “moral trust that people place in us — to protect the Army from the tide of criminal behavior.”
One aspect of his job is to ensure that the Army does not take in recruits who have drug-using lifestyles. The other is to deal with soldiers who have developed a problem. “If you’re in need,” he added, “We want to help you; you won’t meet a group of people more determined to help.”
Helping people who have been put in harm’s way has been a major part of Bailey’s Army career. A trained helicopter pilot, he served for 18 years in medical evacuation.
“It is part of the charm of being an officer in the Army — making a difference,” recounted Bailey, who comes from a family of aviators — including his father. “Medevac is probably the best way to be put to work, because every time you fly is meaningful, and it keeps you fresh.”
Bailey’s current position is very different, but with its broad range of responsibilities also keeps him on his toes. “We do everything from education and detection to monitoring the Army’s current drug-use statistics,” he explained.
While substance-abuse monitoring is but “a small piece” of the center’s mission, according to Bailey, it garnered the spotlight recently with the announcement that expanded drug testing in the Army was to begin on May 1. The military service now will test for hydrocodone and hydromorphone, which can be found in painkillers such as Vicodin, Lorcet and Lortab, to keep tabs on the difficult problem of soldiers misusing prescription painkillers.