A Growing Problem in the U.S.
Members of the armed forces are not immune to the substance use problems that affect the rest of society. Although illicit drug use is lower among U.S. military personnel than among civilians, heavy alcohol and tobacco use, and especially prescription drug abuse, are much more prevalent and are on the rise.
The stresses of deployment during wartime and the unique culture of the military, account for some of these differences. Zero-tolerance policies and stigma pose difficulties in identifying and treating substance use problems in military personnel, as does lack of confidentiality, deterring many who need treatment from seeking it.
Those with multiple deployments and combat exposure are at greatest risk of developing substance use problems. They are more apt to engage in new-onset heavy weekly drinking and binge drinking, to suffer alcohol- and other drug-related problems, and to have greater prescribed use of behavioral health medications. They are also more likely to start smoking or relapse to smoking.
There are many resources to help Veterans and their loved ones answer questions, find support, get treatment, and recover. Please click on the links below to find information on some of these resources:
National Institute of Health (NIH): https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-abuse-in-military
US Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/substanceabuse.asp
Real Warriors Website: http://www.realwarriors.net/veterans/treatment/substanceabuse.php
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