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Military Alcohol Treatment Programs Delayed

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The government has decided to delay alcohol treatment programs because of the high drop out rate in their pilot programs after 3 years. An article in U.S.A Today quoted Les McFarling, head of the Army substance abuse program, “Last year, the Army postponed expanding the program to all 60 Army bases because the dropout rate was 70%.” Alcohol is often used as a socially acceptable and legal way to distress. Some people in the military are finding it difficult to cope with feelings and memories from deployment and are increasing the amount of alcohol they consume for the sedative effect. They end up with relationship problems, sleep issues, health issues, anxiety, depression and some develop an addiction. Many families of the military seek support; however, the service member will often be reluctant to attending treatment. There is an unspoken stigma attached to the military when it comes to issues that need mental health and addiction treatment. Many individuals in the military are returning from deployment in need of extra support and counseling but do not choose to seek help. Pentagon data reported that more than 95,000 troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan last year, including 63,000 soldiers, admitted during health screenings months after coming home that they may have a problem with alcohol. One main fear is that seeking a medical detox treatment program may have a negative impact on their career. The Army continues to explore ways to help and encourage service members to seek alcohol treatment.


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