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 Our veterans and their families have earned our respect and deserve our support as a result of long and multiple deployments, exposure to combat, physical injuries, an increase in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic brain injury (TBI). And our support has extended into the alcohol or drug abuse area as well as a result of the extreme stressful events experienced while serving one, two, or three military tours.

Addressing the Problem:

A 2012 report prepared by the Department of Defense (DOD) by the Institute of Medicine recommended ways of addressing the problem of substance use in the military, including increasing the use of evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions and expanding access to care.  The report recommends broadening insurance coverage to include effective outpatient treatments and better equipping healthcare providers to recognize and screen for substance use problems so they can refer patients to appropriate, evidence-based treatment when needed.  It also recommends measures like limiting access to alcohol on military bases.

Branches of the military have already taken steps to curb prescription drug abuse.  The Army, for example, has implemented changes that include limiting the duration of prescriptions for opioid pain relievers to 6 months and having a pharmacist monitor a soldier’s medications when multiple prescriptions are being used.

Saving Lives:

Fortunately, as a result of the help and support of the military, veterans and those who work in the field of alcoholism and addiction, more veterans of the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam and their families are living lives in long-term recovery than at any point in our history.
Source:  NIDA,
Military not immune to drug and alcohol abuse
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