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How Does Substance Abuse Affect People in the Military?

How Does Substance Abuse Affect People in the Military?

Substance abuse can often be a problem among active, reserve, and returning military personnel. Military service often exposes people to significant stressors like long deplyments away from family, exposure to combat situations, and physical injury. Substance abuse among members of the military are increasing. Learn more about how substance abuse affects people in the military.

Widespread Challenges

When the Department of Defense released a health survey in 2008, it revealed that prescription drug and alcohol abuse are two major concerns among U.S. military personnel. While tobacco use and illegal drug use are decreasing, the last decade has seen a sharp increase in the number of individuals abusing prescription drugs and engaging in unhealthy consumption levels of alcohol. Some findings included:

  • Prescription drug abuse doubled among military personnel
  • Prescription drug abuse increased at a sharper rate from 2005 to 2008
  • Alcohol abuse remains a greater problem, with 27% of personnel returning from tours of duty in Iraq impacted

Random drug testing has been part of military life to help curb the abuse among service personnel. The cost and logistics of testing soldiers can be significant, especially in combat zones or remote regions where testing facilities are not readily available.

Treating Abuse

People who work to eradicate substance abuse problems in the U.S. Military face challenges related to the stigmas that surround counseling, treatment, and mental illness. The maschismo-driven community in which soldiers live can make many of them hesitant to exhibit any form of weakness. Unfortunately, substance use disorders and mental health disorders are often viewed as personal shortcomings, rather than genuine illness, especially in the military. Challenges for treating substance abuse stems from increased length and number of wars being fought with military personnel. It can be hard to get the help people need but it is necessary to find those who understand combat veterans and the military to receive the best help possible for PTSD, TBI, and other associated things that can also be co-occurring with substance abuse.

Our goal is to support anyone who needs help in recovery from addiction. Our program seeks to support the mind and the body through the transition through detox to recovery and beyond. Call us if you are ready to receive help for addiction: 866-294-9401