The Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) is a drug and alcohol prevention and rehabilitation program,designed to remove the stigma associated with addiction while providing a pathway to recovery. Pioneered by the US Air Line Pilot Association in the 1970s, it has been adopted by NZALPA, Cathay Pacific, and Dragonair. The AFAP adopts the HIMS approach to the handling of substance use disorders with support for the objectives, guiding principles and processes of the HIMS program.

HIMS provides a pathway for pilots to seek help and treatment, and to return to professional flying. Without this treatment, a diagnosis of alcohol or drug dependency will likely result in severe health issues and likely lead to termination of employment. Under the US model, HIMS has provided a beacon of hope for individuals suffering from dependency and over 6000 pilots have returned to flying in the US after treatment. Importantly, an 85% success rate exists for rehabilitated pilots. See www.himsprogram.com

What sets the HIMS program apart from standard medical treatment of drug and alcohol cases is a tri-partite approach. That is, the initiative is overseen by a combination of management, pilot unions (through peer monitors) and the regulator. Essential to the success of this is trust between all stakeholders that the aims of the program will be met. The companies must have confidence that public perception of their brand will not be undermined. The unions require that individuals will be dealt with fairly as they undergo treatment and that the program be designed with the intent that a pilot once in treatment who continues to move forward with his or hers rehabilitation will return to flying. The regulator needs to ensure the HIMS program remains compliant with safety regulations. All three stakeholders see flight safety as an overarching priority.

AFAP pilot councils have trained HIMS Peer Monitors available for you to speak with now or you can visit hims.org.au for more information.

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