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Operation Nighthawk aims at preventing drug use

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- 21st Space Wing leadership and Air Force Office of Special Investigations agents searched and drug tested 35 active-duty members entering Peterson AFB early on the morning of Jan. 11 as part of the base-wide drug demand reduction program.

The operation, Operation Nighthawk, is a base-wide effort to deter active-duty members from using drugs or driving while intoxicated. As part of the drug demand reduction program, it is a reminder that service members have the same drug use standards on and off duty.

No test results are back yet, but Airmen caught with illegal drugs in their system will be subject to disciplinary action. 

The DDR program is managed by the 21st Mental Health Flight; however, law enforcement and the entire medical group play support roles in different operations.

"We set up a drug sweep at a random time as a deterrence mechanism," said Maj. Sean Fitzpatrick, 21st Mental Health Flight commander. "We want our members to be aware of DDR and the different tools available to the commander to prevent drug use among our members."

As law enforcement, AFOSI was in a support role for Operation Nighthawk. Special Agent Miranda Richardson said her job was to stop every car coming through the gate and ensure members got to the testing location.

"The wing commander wants to be aware of everything that is happening on base," said Richardson. "It allows us to be proactive rather than reactive to drug related incidents."

According to Richardson, Operation Nighthawk went smoothly thanks to the service members being tested and their families. If active-duty members were passengers in vehicles or had family with them, they were permitted to take their family home or be dropped off at the testing location.

As part of the DDR program, members stopped during Operation Nighthawk were tested just as they would be through normal on-duty programs.

"DDR has several tools available to reduce drug use including the wide range of substances we test for," said Fitzpatrick. "DDR is a very nimble program. The panels of drugs we test for is constantly changing and expanding based upon local availability and popularity."

The current DDR standard at Peterson AFB is for 100 percent of the populace assigned to be drug tested, said Fitzpatrick. DDR tests a number of people that is equal to the total number of personnel assigned to Peterson AFB; even though some members may or may not be tested repeatedly.

"It went very smoothly and every member was cooperative," said Fitzpatrick. "We expect more of these operations in the future as a tool to prevent drug use."

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui