Substance Abuse Treatment in Special Populations: Veterans

With much of the focus on teens, many special populations go unnoticed when the subject of substance abuse comes up. One of these special populations is the U.S. military veterans. Despite a zero tolerance policy instituted by the military, substance abuse is still prevalent among those returning home. When looking at the overall problem of drug abuse among our veterans there are several factors that need to be examined.

Why Veterans Become Victims of Substance Abuse

Veterans are often victims of substance abuse because of a variety of reasons. These reasons include:

  • trauma during deployment
  • stress during wartime
  • military training rigors
  • inability to adapt
  • exposure to drugs or alcohol while in a foreign country
  • mood disorders caused by combat and trauma
  • inability to successfully reintegrate back into society

Although the standard reasons still apply, veterans are a particularly vulnerable population due to the strain that a military activity puts on the mind and body.

Many members of the military and veteran population want private substance abuse treatment because of their status in both the military and their community. If you are a member of this special population and want private treatment due to your status and reputation, call 800-934-7205 (Who Answers?) .

How Bad is the Problem Really?

According to the White House’s National Office of Drug Control Policy:

Special Populations

Many veterans are exposed to substances while in a foreign country.

  • approximately 20 percent of military personnel suffer from some form of substance abuse
  • over half the veterans serving time in prison have a substance abuse problem
  • 25 percent of those in prison were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they were arrested
  • Most veterans report trauma as being the cause of their substance abuse problem

These facts point to a very serious problem among both our current military personnel and veterans alike. It is important to remember that members of the military and veteran communities have barriers to seeking treatment for their substance abuse problem. These barriers include:

  • a zero tolerance policy for drug use in the military
  • loss of status
  • potential for a dishonorable discharge
  • loss of community respect
  • lack of coping skills
  • lack of knowledge of private treatment options
  • loss of the respect of their family and friends

Military personnel are taught to hide weakness as a form of combat training, while this practice is excellent in the field and training; it becomes a problem when seeking drug addiction treatment.

What are Commonly Abused Substances in the Military?

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, substance abuse has been a problem for the military for a long time. Previously the most commonly abused substances were:

  • marijuana
  • heroin
  • nicotine
  • alcohol

Although both alcohol abuse and binge drinking are still a major problem, military personnel are now reporting more prescription drug abuse instead of illegal street drugs.

Where can a Veteran Seek Private Help?

If you are a veteran and need to find treatment that will not compromise your privacy, call 800-934-7205 (Who Answers?) . We can help you find the treatment that you need to overcome your addiction.

Substance Abuse Treatment for Seniors

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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