The lives of active duty service members are filled with stress, whether it is from their job, separation from family and friends, or constant relocation. Anxiety, stress, combat, separation, reintegration into home life and society; these are all ingredients for substance use among active duty military service. For these reasons, it is important to understand if drug recovery supports works for military members or not.
The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM) has labeled the increase in substance use among the military as a public health crisis that is in need of attention. However, questions have been raised as to whether or not service members in need of drug recovery would receive treatment or, instead, be reprimanded.
The current drug recovery support that is in place by the Pentagon and Armed Forces has been proven ineffective at helping military service members with drug use. According to the Department of Defense, there were more than 5 million prescriptions issued that included muscle relaxers, painkillers, stimulants, barbiturates, and tranquilizers. It noted that the number of prescriptions written in 2011 were 5 times higher than the amount written a decade earlier. In addition to prescriptions, the Department of Defense also spent roughly 600 million on drug recovery treatment for military members.
However, while that number may look like the military is willing to offer assistance to their service members and their families, the truth is that rules and regulations within the military, namely the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), labels drug use as immoral conduct, so the likelihood of service members coming forward voluntarily and requesting drug recovery is low, if they want to maintain their career in military service. At the same time, not getting help and suffering a DUI â€“ or multiple DUIs, could also quickly end a military career. The fact is that most military service men and women do not get help until someone higher in the chain of command recommends it.
But there may be light at the end of the tunnel for military service members, as there has been advocacy for military leaders to make referrals without repercussions in military approved drug recovery programs. There is, however, still a double standard between the military and civilian communities. Since the 1960s, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has been offered to civilian workers and, as a result, has helped many individuals that were struggling and in need of drug recovery, as well as many other issues. The military, on the other hand, still holds to a policy that if an issue is in conflict with the UCMJ, then it is a problem, which is where substance use rests as immoral conduct.
Of course, once the military contract is completed, the former service member may seek assistance from the Veterans Administration or any place that they choose to get drug recovery support. The Veterans Administration has been a leader in helping former service members, retired service men and women, as well as present active duty military personnel receive their benefits and are given the help that they need.
If you know someone in the military or you could use help yourself, call Saint Jude Retreats to start the process. Remember, you can change your lifeâ€”starting today! 1-888-424-2626