Verify My Insurance 1-800-737-0933
03.27.2020

Will I Be Discharged from the Military for Going To a Substance Abuse Detox Program?

It’s a well-known fact that drug and alcohol abuse is common among veterans. However, alcohol and substance abuse is a significant problem among active-duty members who are part of the armed forces as well. Many service personnel are willing to get help but are unsure of what will happen to them when they enter a detox program. They are worried that they will be dishonorably discharged if they admit they need help. While this is a valid concern, most service personnel can receive the treatment they need while staying active duty. Read on to learn more about drug use in the military.

Drug Abuse and the Military

The abuse of illegal and prescription substances among military members can be just as problematic as it is for those in the private sector. Drug abuse affects a person’s ability to make rational decisions and can lead to poor performance on the job. For military members, drug use can easily put fellow soldiers at risk. The use of drugs can cause problems when it comes to discipline, readiness, and the physical and mental health of the service member. It may also create problems within the unit by disrupting the unity of the soldiers. An addicted member can also put a whole unit at risk when they are deployed to an active war zone.

Prescription drugs, such as opioid painkillers and sedatives, are most often abused by military members. Alcohol abuse is another widespread problem in the military. While illicit drugs are not as common an issue, they are still prevalent through the military community. Because of wartime experiences, many active-duty military members find themselves dealing with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Many turn to drugs to combat these feelings, only to find themselves addicted. For members who had mental health concerns before being deployed to a war zone, drugs and alcohol may be the only way they know how to cope.

Help for Military Members

Too many military members do not seek the help that they need because they are afraid of the repercussions. However, many members can and do go through detox and treatment at a reputable rehab even while on active duty. Drug testing is mandatory for all military members. While they may be asked to perform a random urinalysis, commanders can and will order “probable cause testing” if they believe any service member may be using illegal drugs.

Any service member who comes up positive for illicit drugs will be offered the chance to go to treatment and detox. A trained professional will initially access the situation and may recommend treatment for the individual. A commanding officer will refer a service member to treatment if they have had an issue with the police, such as a DUI or disorderly conduct charge. The type of detox and treatment will depend on many factors, such as the availability of services, the severity of the addiction, and the cost of detox.

Confidentiality and Disciplinary Action During Treatment

Confidentiality is often an issue that keeps service members from seeking treatment. However, confidentiality is limited in different cases. For example, service members who have been arrested or have threatened to harm themselves will show up on the commander’s radar. Some programs also require that the partner of the addict become involved in treatment.

While many service members do not want others involved, the commander’s involvement should be thought of as a positive thing. They can help the service member stay sober after detox and treatment are over. They will also want to know any type of information that could affect how fit the person is for duty. It is their job to ensure the safety of their entire unit.

Overall, the military will not discharge a service member because of a drug or alcohol problem. They will offer counseling and therapy services through their own facilities, or they may recommend the individual to a civilian facility. While some service members will face disciplinary action, the military will be more concerned that they seek help for their problem. Any service member who is dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction should seek the help they need right away.

Contact Us Now

If you or someone you love in the military is abusing drugs and needs treatment, don’t hesitate. Our facility can help you or your loved one detox from drugs or alcohol and learn to live a sober life. When you are ready to take that first important step, give us a call at 800-737-0933.

Listen to Podcasts
Season 3, Episode 31: 29 Years of Recovery w/ Andy V.