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11.16.2018

Substance Abuse Among Police Officers

As a police officer, you work hard to keep illegal drugs and other substances off the streets. You often feel the pressure of being in the public eye. But what about substance abuse among police officers themselves? Many officers have special concerns, considering that they are expected to serve as a positive role model within your community. In fact, you may even work with youth and at-risk adults. Those people who rely upon you to be a stable presence in their lives.

Unfortunately, trying to live up to such high expectations can sometimes cause police officers to experience struggles with addiction in an attempt to mask the effects of the challenges that they face every day. Whether you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, seeking treatment is now your best choice for being able to keep your job and continue to help others in your community. Now that you’ve decided to go to drug rehab for uniformed services, you can take these steps to make sure that treatment doesn’t lead to you being kicked off of the police force.

Recognize the Risk Factors Associated With Police Work

In addition to dealing with high expectations from the community, you are also subjected to increased levels of on-the-job stress every day. This is especially true if your position entails dealing with car accidents, criminal activity or other traumatic scenarios on a daily basis. Since accepting your position, you may have even had to deal with situations that caused you to feel helpless or guilty about not being able to make things better for the people that you assist. Police officers are often portrayed as superheroes in the media. Trying to keep up that persona day after day gets hard.

While you may feel like you are the only police officer to deal with addiction, the truth is that there are other police officers among you that also struggle with substance abuse. You just may not hear about it due to the stigma that is associated with addiction in the police field. Being willing to seek treatment is your first step. Finally breaking free from the stigma and taking back control over your life is a huge goal. In drug rehab, you will learn strategies to manage your stress that may include some or all of the following:

  • Practice mindful meditation
  • Burn off negativity with recreational therapy
  • Feed your body and mind with nutritional counseling
  • Form proper sleep habits to restore your energy
  • Learn to address problems as they come in counseling

Know Your Rights As An Employee Seeking Addiction Treatment

In a career where it’s your job to help people take responsibility for their actions, you have obvious concerns about the repercussions that you may face if your colleagues or superiors find out about your addiction. As police officers, you are required to abstain from the use of drugs or alcohol on the job. But you do benefit from certain types of protections that are in place to help people address addiction without losing their job.

Chemical dependency is considered a disability that is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, you could potentially lose your job. This is if your employer finds that your use of drugs or alcohol creates an unsafe environment for you and others in the workplace. However, they cannot fire you as a police officer for seeking drug rehab for your addiction. If you are worried about your employer using another excuse for your termination such as taking time off, then check to see if you are eligible for coverage under the Family Medical Leave Act. Your police department may also have other standards and programs in place to help. Those programs may include making sure that people get help with mental treatment. They may even offer to apply to your need for assistance with your addiction recovery.

Establish a Long-Term Plan to Stop Addiction From Affecting Your Career

You know the devastating effects that addiction has on a person’s relationships and career. When you are under the influence or dealing with withdrawal symptoms, you cannot be your best at work. Going to drug rehab gives you an opportunity to start fresh again. With that said, you must continue to do the work after you get home. While you are in rehab, put together a plan that helps you stay sober in the months and years ahead. Identify people to call after a traumatic event and learn how to relax at the end of a hard day. The things that are learned in rehab about substance abuse and living with addiction among other police officers can help you preserve your position in your field.

Are you ready to stop worrying about losing your job as a police officer? And are you ready to receive the help you need at a drug rehab? Our counselors are ready to help you feel proud of what you do when you go to work. Give us a call today at 844-903-2111.