Will underage drinking come back to bite me?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by anonymous, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. anonymous

    anonymous New Member

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    Hello,

    I am currently a contracted AFROTC cadet. I was recently taken to the Emergency Room for excessive intoxication. My BAC was not life threatening (0.19). My question is, does AFROTC have any way to find out about this, and will it come back to bite me later? I had no involvement with the police/civil authorities, only the hospital. My university is also pretty forgiving, I am in no trouble with them. I know many of you will probably tell me to report it, but realistically that may not be in my best interests.
     
  2. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    You came here and asked publicly, so I am going to share some "Dad" advice with you... ready?

    Since you are already contracted to become an officer in the AF, you know the principals the service lives by and what's required of a good leader. So what do YOU think you should do?

    We all make mistakes. It's what comes next that defines who we are.

    Hope this helps and my sincere best wishes for you,

    MedB
     
  3. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    How long ago did this happen.

    Not knowing how the hospital you went to handles these things I can only tell you what has happened at my son's school. A fellow student (Not a cadet) from my son's fraternity was taken to the hospital for excess alcohol, he was underage. While the local police never showed up to the hospital, it was reported by the hospital to the police and university. It took some time but he did get notified by both the police and the university and was issued a MIC.

    Like I said, not sure how your school, local police, and hospital handle things. The point is, don't get too comfortable with the idea that you dodged a bullet, if it comes back to your AFROTC Det. later and you never reported it, well, it could be a lot worse for you. One thing to consider as well, this will now be on your medical records, when you go for any physicals in the future this will show up, be real careful when you answer the question on your medical history about excessive drinking.

    As far as what is in your best interest, well, that doesn't matter. What matters is what is in the AF's best interest. Being more then twice the legal limit while underage is in nobody's best interest.

    You mentioned that your university is very forgiving, that actually surprises me since most schools seem to be cracking down. By mentioning that do you mean that the univesity knows about this, because if they found out, the AFROTC Det. will find out.

    As far as whether you should tell your Det. most people here will tell you yes, it's the honorable and right thing to do. In the end you will make your own decision, if you decide not to report it, just be prepared to be looking over your shoulder the rest of your time with the AF.

    Edit: I happen to agree with the last post by MedB
     
  4. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    And while you think, "As long as I don't ask for the record from THAT hospital, nobody will ever learn my dirty little secret", you will be finding in the next decade that all medical records will be digitized and at some point you may be required to get a high-level security clearance. That is when "big-data" will come back and bite you in the back side. Your insurance company paid for that visit which was coded to indicate the nature of your treatment. Well guess what? Now the feds want to find out if you lied on your medical history and even though they don't know you went to X hospital ER from the hospital, they know you were insured by Y insurance company (they background search your parents as well to get this kind of information) and they use the insurance company as a proxy to get medical background (and yes, when you sign that form for the security clearance, you give up all rights to block their searches). Busted!

    I would not want to bet against big-data. In the commercial sphere, it is very saavy. Google knows that you've been on SAF and other sites and tunes the advertisements accordingly. The federal government isn't too far behind (if it hasn't already passed them in a top-secret area). They can put the pieces together. The question is when will they come looking for you.

    If you want to feel better for your life, I suggest watching Les Miserables. You may be living that life soon enough.
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    As Jcleppe pointed out, it seems to me they will find out about it through your next set of DoDMERB physicals. So, I would recommend reporting it. As long as no one was hurt, you weren't driving, there was no run in with the police and your not suspended from school, I think you will probably survive it. Not to say you won't feel any pain and there won't be a review board. I expect both of these things will occur. But I also believe that not reporting it will lead to more pain and more serious consequences later. If you're going to suffer consequences, I say get 'em out of the way now when they are relatively minor. PLus that way you can leave it behind, one way or the other, and not be worrying about it for who knows how long?

    Just my opinion. You will need to make your own decision after hearing what I am sure will be the various points of view posted here, as well as the other input I'm sure you're getting from fellow cadets. And oh yeah, it's always possible a fellow cadet will "turn you in". I've known this to happen in some units. Never understood it but it happens from time to time.
     
  6. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I've heard this same point made a number of times by many different people over the last couple of years and I'm not sure how accurate it is. Setting aside the moral implications of not reporting this underage drinking issue; how much worse would getting "caught" be than reporting it? Would the payback be any less for those contracted cadets that report violations than those that don't and are eventually found out?

    As far as I can determine the AF is not interested in giving cadets ANY second chances for drinking violations. If you are going to be dis-enrolled from AFROTC whether you report it or not, and again you are not concerned about the moral obligation of telling the truth; then why not take a shot at "getting away" with it?

    I think everyone has been very clear (again) on why morally as a future officer a cadet should report this drinking offense. I'm just interested in a nuts and bolts evaluation of how much better one course of action would be than another in light of todays current military environment and the apparent lack of forgiveness for drinking violations.
     
  7. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    A medical condition/treatment not involving one of the 12 exceptions to the HIPAA privacy laws (eg a gunshot wound) that was reported to the police or university by a hospital or healthcare provider would be illegal.

    Underage drinking is not one of the exceptions, therefore the hospital's disclosure to the police or university would be in violation and they would be liable for possible damages, up to $50,000.

    There can also be criminal penalties against the person at the hospital who disclosed the information.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Let's keep it simple, any medical change needs to be reported. Admittance to an ER is part of your medical records. I am assuming they hooked you up with IVs, correct?

    This was not I had a flu issue. It is not I got a shot. You were admitted to a hospital, and if you are going to follow the contract you signed for the scholarship, you must inform them.

    IMPO you can try to hide it, and may get away with it, but I have to say the thing that bothers me the most is how any of your friends allowed you to get to that level.

    0.19 in our state is 2.5 times the intoxication level. DUI is 0.08 here.

    I wish you the best, but hope you re-think who your friends are that let you get to that point.
     
  9. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    When it comes time for advanced standing, someone on the bubble may just be thinking that eliminating the competition is a valid strategy. Not saying it is right or wrong. Just another reason to be paranoid...:sofa:
     
  10. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I should of mentioned that the studend was taken to the hopital by a Medic Unit after 911 was called. The police contacted the hospital after the student had been released and later issued the MIC.

    The HIPAA Privacy laws can be cloudy when treatment is due to a crime being committed, Underage drinking is considered a crime, a misdemeanor, but still a crime.

    Had the 911 call not been made, you may be right, the police may never have been involved.
     
  11. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I think a lot would have to do whether the cadet is on a scholarship. If this cadet does not report it now and continues on with the next couple years of ROTC and then gets caught, the Pay Back will be a lot higher if he is disenrolled. That "Taking a shot at getting away with it" could cost a lot more money in the end.
     
  12. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    The question you have posed is worthy of great debate and study. It is an interesting and challenging dilemma.

    Was it a bad lapse in judgement? Certainly. You can bet that poor judgement is a negative on peer and cadre evaluations.

    Was it a crime? Many states and local municipalities look at it differently. There are local "amnesty laws" in college towns to encourage seeking medical help when students find themselves in this situation. I am not a lawyer so I am going to suggest you seek out competent opinions on this matter. Is it a crime if no charges are ever filed?

    Will it be reported? Hospitals may report these cases as statistics (for recording and government studies) or they may report as evidence of a crime. HIPPA laws do apply except in several distinct examples - one involves suspicion or evidence of a crime. If an ambulance was involved, they too may have a obligation to report it. These things move more slowly through the system so it may show up weeks from now as a citation.

    Do you have a duty to self-report? Not sure. My first question would be your contract and any documents you have agreed to. If you have agreed to self-report crimes, police involvement, hospitalization, etc then I say there is no question. You have to report it. The military doesn't pride itself on duty and honor only in the good times - it applies at ALL times.

    Will it be reported by a peer? Its possible. It happens. Particularly if it involves a violation of some "code of conduct" you have all agreed to. Or it could be referenced in a peer review or even as a light comment overheard by the Officers while someone is speaking with others. So you have to live with this "ticking time bomb" for some time. It could come back when you are seeking Security Clearances or in any number of ways.

    I believe most active duty officers - particularly those on a college campus expect a certain level of underage drinking and don't dig deep to uncover it. They know it goes on. But when it involves a DUI, criminal activity or public embarrassment they take a hard line. Furthermore, they have an obligation to act if they have evidence of the event. I don't know if there is zero tolerance for underage drinking but I suspect that in an environment of downsizing and cost cutting, it would not be a good situation for you. How have they handled these situation in the past? Are they willing to let these things slide?

    Years ago, we used to joke that if you got a bad sunburn, the military could charge you with damage to government property. What if someone tried to apply that thought process here?

    So putting aside the ethical / moral dilemma, to me a lot depends on your particular situation. Was there a crime? Will it be reported? What are your obligations? Who knows about it? How has your unit handled these situations before? Can you afford to payback all 4 years if this comes out just prior to commissioning?

    You have put yourself in a very tough position. One that could cost your scholarship, military career, education. I hope it doesn't come to that.

    Its a new world: The military has zero tolerance for certain activities. Furthermore, with downsizing pressure people will get few breaks.
     
  13. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey Member

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    This situation is covered in considerable detail in AFROTC Instruction 36-2011, which is the general manual of operations for AFROTC detachments. You can access it here: http://www.umass.edu/afrotc/AFROTCI36-2011_IC1.pdf

    Under 4.5.4 (page 103) you have an obligation to self-report any incident causing adverse involvement or contact with civil, military, or school authorities. Inasmuch as you had no contact with law enforcement, and your school has taken no disciplinary action, you will have to decide if this is an incident that you are required to self-report. I think that you need to carefully read and reflect upon this instruction before you decide what to do. If you do report it, you are specifically required to disclose the results of your blood alcohol test. (4.5.5.1).

    You also need to look at section 4.6 of the instruction (starting on page 109). The detachment commander is granted the authority to waive one incident of unlawful consumption or minor-in-possession of alcohol. However, the incident CANNOT BE WAIVED if your BA level was more than 1.5 times the legal limit (.12 for a .08 state, .15 for a .10 state), which is defined as an "Excessive BAC" under section 4.6.3.1. I am quite certain that your .19 BA is in that category, as I cannot imagine that any state has a legal limit of .13.
     
  14. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Has anyone heard of a Detachment Commander waiving ANY alcohol offenses during the last 2 years?
     
  15. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I know of an NROTC batallion where an alcohol offense has been waived. The was some punishment but the midshipman was allowed to stay in the program. BUT... that was over 18 months ago. A lifetime in today's world.
     
  16. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Thanks Kinnem! I was wondering specifically about AFROTC seeing they seem to have been aggressively tackling the RIF issues the longest.
     
  17. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Yeah I figured.... which is why I was careful to identify the branch. :cool:
     
  18. Reaper

    Reaper AFROTC Cadet (AS400)

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    Guy at my AFROTC (AS200 at the time) got a MIP and he managed to stay in. I'm not sure if he's on scholarship or not, but I think he is. It may have helped that he is an EE major.
     
  19. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Thanks! It's great to hear that there is at least a possibility of a second chance.
     
  20. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Yes, multiple times.
     

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