Coast Guard Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, Military Drug and Alcohol, and Related Policies

Flag Voice #492

In the next few days, we will release four interrelated Commandant Instructions.  This release will include the new Coast Guard Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Manual, and an updated Military Drug and Alcohol Policy, Coast Guard Health Promotion Manual, and Military Separations Manual.  These four manuals are being released simultaneously as they are interdependent upon each other, requiring that each instruction be current.  Upon promulgation, these instructions will codify policies previously issued by ALCOAST COMDT NOTICE (ACN).  The goal and major outcome of this joint effort will result in policies that provide clear guidance on prevention and obtainment of treatment, produce an outcome of recovery from alcohol or substance abuse, as well as alerting members to the impact a drug or alcohol incident or use disorder may have on their career.


Coast Guard Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Manual

  • This manual was created from chapter 7 of the Coast Guard Health Promotion Manual.  The importance of this information warrant a standalone instruction, and allows for quicker updates when needed.
  • The information contained in this manual is largely unchanged from its original content.

Military Drug and Alcohol Policy:

  • The name of this manual has been changed from the Coast Guard Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program, to the Military Drug and Alcohol Policy.
  • The minimum drinking age is now 21 for all Coast Guard military members on active duty, wherever located.  This requirement has been established as a Punitive General Order.  Some exceptions apply (i.e. Active Duty members on authorized leave or reservists not on active duty, or in a drilling status).
  • Medical diagnosis and treatment plans from alcohol incidents now require separate medical and administrative actions.
  • The zero tolerance scope has been expanded to include illicit drug use, including designer drugs, misuse of over-the-counter products, and other substance misuse.
  • In addition to Incident Referral and Self-Referrals, Command Referrals have been established as approaches to alcohol screening.
  • The term alcohol-related situation has no association with alcohol use and is abolished; such situations relate to general misconduct.
  • Alcohol incidents must now be documented on an Administrative Remarks, (CG-3307) for both officer and enlisted members.
  • Gambling is recognized as a use disorder and will be treated the same as alcohol or drugs from a medical standpoint.

Military Separations:

  • Drug and alcohol incidents have been separated for officers, and clarified that officers receiving a drug or alcohol incident, vice being involved in a drug or alcohol incident, are causes for separation.
  • Fully incorporates ALCOAST 146/14 and clarifies that refusing to take a breath test to measure blood alcohol concentration by a recognized authority for suspicion of drunken or impaired vehicle, aircraft, or vessel operation, is a cause for separation for officers, and requires commands to initiate administrative discharge processing for enlisted personnel.  As with administrative discharge processing initiated due to members who engage in drunken or impaired operation of a vehicle, aircraft, or vessel, a commanding officer may submit a memorandum to CG PSC-EPM-1 with a recommendation that the member should be retained, if mitigating circumstances or an exceptional situation warrants consideration for retention.
  • CG PSC will be the final authority in these cases.
  • The second chance program now clearly excludes Alcohol Substance Use Disorders requiring separation, as well as separations required by ALCOAST 146/14.

 Coast Guard Health Promotion Manual:

  •  With the exception of removing the content of chapter 7, this instruction is largely unchanged.

 The changes discussed in this Flag Voice, as well as additional changes will be announced by an ALCOAST COMDT NOTICE (ACN) for each of these manuals.  Additional changes to each manual will be announced in the Commandants Change Notice and the manuals themselves.  All Coast Guard Commands and personnel are encouraged to fully review these new and updated manuals.  The comprehensive update to these manuals will help ensure the CG remains a mission ready workforce.

RADM William G. Kelly
Assistant Commandant for Human Resources

Issue date: 09/05/2018