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Factors Contributing To Military Drug Use
While we honor those serving in the armed forces, they are human and subject to the same substance abuse problems as anyone. Military drug use of illicit substances is lower in the military as compared to the rest of the population, but problems still exist. Tobacco use, alcohol, and prescription drug use is more prevalent than in civilian use, and it is on the rise. These days we see an increasing amount of soldiers seeking a California addiction treatment center.
Stresses Leading To Military Drug Use
No one can deny that the military has its own culture, often stressful. While members willingly sign up to serve their country, those stress remain just the same. Within the military, there are zero-tolerance policies that deter and hinder confidentiality. Many military members who abuse drugs are afraid to seek help because of these policies. Their addiction is allowed to compound to a point where they may be dishonorably discharged from service.
Soldiers exposed to multiple deployments and exposed to combat are at an even greater risk of substance abuse. These individuals will likely engage in binge drinking as well, and to abuse prescription drugs. Whatever their addiction, they are also more likely to relapse if having once beat an addiction.
When surveyed, only three percent of military personnel admitted to having taken an illicit drug during the past month. Civilians surveyed revealed that 12 percent had used an illicit drug in the past month. Of those surveyed, 18-25 year-olds where the most likely to have used drugs.
Mental Health Problems of Service Members
It remains a fact that service members often carry their psychological wounds into civilian life. One in four military members returning from Afghanistan had some type of mental or cognitive disorder. Nearly one in six suffered from PTSD. While these symptoms do not always preclude drug abuse, they weigh heavily on the military community. They also weigh heavily on the families of military personnel. Pain medications increased among military members quadrupled between 2001 and 2009. Hopefully, those numbers have decreased during the past seven years.
Personal relationships are at risk. Finances are challenged, and careers are prevented or stalled. All of this can add to the stresses that military personnel face while in service or transitioning into civilian life.
Substance Abuse and Suicide
Military suicides, drug-related, have risen with respect to civilian suicides. Prescription drugs were involved in nearly 30 percent of those suicides. The best we can do at present is to keep supporting our troops by providing the support and treatment they both need and deserve.