Tag Archives: law enforcement

Uniformed Services

Why Do Police Officers and Firefighters Face Addiction Issues So Often?

Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can become afflicted with the disease of addiction regardless of his or her income, education level, race, religion, etc. People’s professions dot not make them immune from addiction, even if their profession is a police officer or a firefighter.

You may consider it ironic for a police officer or a firefighter to face addiction issues. However, as the addiction rates of the general population have surged in recent years, the addiction rates among police officers and firefighters have surged in proportion. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 806,400 law enforcement workers suffer from addiction. A study done in 2012 showed that 56 percent of firefighters were binge-drinkers. There are a variety of factors behind the prevalence of addiction in police officers and firefighters.

  • Stress

Police officers and firefighters have very high-stress jobs. The shifts are long, and the work is physically taxing and mentally taxing. The hours are not limited to nine to five on weekdays. Police officers and firefighters have to work late night shifts, overnight shifts, weekend shifts, and holiday shifts, so they are given little time for family, recreation, and decompression.

  • Traumatic Experiences on the Job

Police officers and firefighters are bombarded with violence on a constant basis. Their genuine feelings regarding these traumatic experiences often go unexpressed. Family and friends often do not want to listen to a police officer and firefighter talk about the details of his or her job. Police officers and firefighters do not get the opportunity to support their fellow workers due to confidentiality policies prohibiting them from discussing cases. Often, police officers and firefighters detach from all emotions as a survival mechanism, and using substances are a method to make that possible.

  • Mental Health Disorders

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression tend to be prevalent among police officers and firefighters. These mental health disorders tend to go untreated among police officers and firefighters due to the stigma surrounding mental health disorders in the United States and the profession. Using alcohol or drugs is a way for them to self-medicate these undiagnosed and untreated disorders.

There is Hope for Police Officers and Firefighters

Police officers and firefighters are often hesitant to seek help for their addictions for several reasons.

  • Stigma surrounding substance abuse in their profession
  • Denial, thinking “I am not like those people I arrest” “I’m a police officer or a firefighter, so this cannot happen to me”
  • Stigma from their community because of their substance abuse and profession
  • Losing their Job

While they have legitimate reasons to be concerned, they should not make their concerns a barrier to getting into recovery. If their addiction goes untreated, it will only worsen and may lead to incarcerations, institutionalizations, or death. The benefit of recovery outweighs the stigma and potential losses. There are many resources police officers and firefighters can turn to for help.

  • Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) and Narcotic’s Anonymous (NA)
  • Intensive-Outpatient (IOP)
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Psychologist or a Psychiatrist
  • Inpatient Treatment
  • Inpatient Detox
  • Family and/or Friend Support

If you or someone you know is a police officer or firefighter who is suffering from addiction, seek help or encourage him or her to seek the help he or she needs. It will be beneficial in the long-term. Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Why and How Is Fentanyl Getting Into So Many Drugs?

America is in the midst of the worst drug epidemic in its history. Opiate addiction is ripping apart families nationwide, and addiction to harder narcotics like heroin is on the rise. If your family is one of those affected by opiate addiction, you may have heard of the dangers of a new, more powerful opiate called fentanyl. Unfortunately, overdoses on fentanyl have risen drastically over the past few years. So why and how is fentanyl spreading? In order to answer that question, you must understand what fentanyl is and does.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid, similar to drugs like oxycontin and morphine. In fact, all opiates are products of the poppy family of plants. Of course, this makes all of these drugs powerful pain killers. Fentanyl is roughly 10,000 times as strong as morphine, and used only in the most extreme and controlled cases for pain management. Unfortunately, as much as a quarter of a teaspoon of fentanyl is easily enough to kill a person, especially one with low or no tolerance to opioids.

 

How is Fentanyl getting into so many drugs?

As drug and law enforcement agents have become more educated on the dangers and ubiquity of opioids, they have cracked down on doctors over prescribing opiates like hydrocodone and oxycontin. Unfortunately, opioid addiction can begin as early as 2 weeks into a pain management treatment schedule, so even those with small doses of prescribed medication can become addicted. As control over prescription pills has tightened, addicts typically turn to the cheaper and more readily available heroin.

Unfortunately, drug dealers have begun cutting their supplies of heroin with small amounts of fentanyl. Fentanyl provides a stronger high for a much smaller dose, so dealers can make more money off of a smaller supply of heroin.

Why is Fentanyl put into so many drugs?

While drug and law enforcement agents have aggressively pursued the manufacturers and suppliers of street opiates like heroin, they have created another problem. Fentanyl is easier and cheaper to create than heroin, and offers a much stronger high for a much smaller amount. As addicts have a much higher tolerance to opiates than non-addicted patients, many of them will seek out the strongest drug possible: fentanyl. In order to stop fentanyl from destroying your community, it is imperative to stop opiate addiction from spreading in the first place with a visit to a rehab center.  Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933