Substance abuse is a growing concern among U.S. healthcare providers and the government. Nearly everyone is susceptible to it, but it is occurring at particularly alarming rates among veterans. More and more veterans are falling victim to prescription drug and alcohol abuse.
The government is taking this situation very seriously. They’re looking at what contributes to the abuse and doing their best to find solutions to the problem.
How the Los Angeles Veterans’ Association is Combating Substance Abuse
There are two types of addiction that are on the rise among veterans: alcohol and prescription drugs.
1. Alcoholism Among Veterans
Alcohol has been used as a coping mechanism for centuries. Unfortunately, it can cause a lot of damage. When rates of PTSD arise, so do alcohol addiction rates. Someone with depression, PTSD, survivor’s guilt, or inherited addictive behavior is more likely to turn to alcohol to cope.
The result is a damaged liver, kidneys, and brain. In addition, relationships can be strained. Alcohol can make a person say or do things that they wouldn’t normally do, which could result in getting into trouble with the law, too. And there’s always the risk of an accident, whether they’re walking down the street or sitting behind the wheel of a car.
2. Prescription Pain Killers
One of the most alarming addictions on the rise is the addiction to pain killers. According to some estimates, the rate of wounded soldiers has increased by twenty-five percent since 2001. That’s 2.9 million wounded veterans.
Wounds are painful, particularly the ones our veterans suffer with. Many of the disabilities that the veterans deal with cause chronic, debilitating pain. Therefore, pain killers are prescribed. Unfortunately, pain killers are extremely addicting, being made up of opioiods.
Once a person is addicted to these pain killers, it is extremely difficult to get out from under their influence. A person who is addicted deals with poor concentration and coordination, drowsiness, confusion, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, paranoia, even more pain. And in some cases, people have died from their addiction.
How the Veterans’ Association of Los Angeles Is Trying to Help
The Los Angeles Veterans’ Association, as well as other associations around the country, is working hard to address the issue of substance abuse and addiction. The VA has started the Veterans Drug and Alcohol Dependence Rehabilitation Program.
Through this program, veterans are supported by a trained medical staff to work through detoxification and rehabilitation. There are counselors available for mental and emotional support throughout this process. Veterans’ families can also receive support through family counseling. The vet will learn how to more healthfully deal with their mental, emotional, and physical pain.
Putting an End to the Abuse: Veterans Working With Healthcare Providers
Government healthcare providers are working hard to find solutions that will work specifically for the special needs of veterans. In order to finally put an end to substance abuse, veterans need to take advantage of the services provided to them. Whether the issue is drugs, alcohol, or some other addictive behavior, there are treatments available.