Substance Use Disorder is a significant issue across West Virginia and sadly, this extends to the veteran community. Those who are at greater risk of developing a substance abuse problem have typically experienced multiple deployments, exposure to combat, and certain injuries that require specific medical treatment.
This is an issue that should not be taken lightly. In 2013, 1 in 15 Veterans reported having had an issue with substance abuse. While this number has since decreased due to a number of initiatives conducted through the United States Department of Defense and other programs available through various military organizations, many of our veterans are fighting this battle.
Most branches offer their own substance abuse prevention programs and resources, such as the Marine Corps Substance Abuse Prevention, the Navy Alcohol Abuse Prevention, and the Air Force Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program. Each website includes a list of services available to both current servicemen and women and veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also offers general assistance with substance abuse and provides care such as self-help groups, residential care, screening for alcohol and tobacco, and many more easily accessible programs.
In order to help with the fight against substance use disorder, it is essential to recognize the signs of alcohol and prescription drug use and other types of drug abuse. Some of the things to look for are lowered energy, denial, irritability and agitation. To learn more about identifying substance abuse problems, follow this link: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/health-wellness/mental-health/substance-abuse-and-addiction/understanding-and-identifying-substance-use-disorders
If you or a loved one is experiencing a crisis or is in need of referrals for facilities and support groups, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Helpline is a valuable resource to use and contact. Servicemen or woman can call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This resource is available for free, 24-hours a day, and all 365 days of the year.