Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Military Cracking Down On Alcohol Abuse

In recent months, the top military brass have been adamant about putting into place restrictions against the abuse of alcohol by its soldiers at home and abroad. Stemming from the October accusations that two soldiers sexually assaulted a woman in Okinawa while intoxicated, The Department of Defense found that the rate of binge drinking and alcohol abuse amongst its soldiers was "epidemic," and called their findings "a public health crisis."

In an act to not only cut down on the rates of binge drinking, but also to support those soldiers with alcohol addictions and severe dependency problems, lobbyists are trying to reorganize the benefits offered by the military's health care system TRICARE. Currently, TRICARE does not offer sufficient benefits for those needing to enter chemical dependency treatment programs, or require anti-addiction drugs such as Suboxone.

New Dawn Recovery Center is a drug treatment and eating disorder center in California; New dawn has seen a large influx of returning vets and active military seeking treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. As a dual diagnosis residential treatment center, New Dawn is used to dealing with dual diagnoses. Many of the returning vets that enter treatment also have underlying conditions, such as post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), that strengthen the addiction and make it more severe.

The biggest concern to military leaders is the trend of binge drinking among its active military. Binge Drinking entails consuming extremely large amounts of alcohol over a short period of time in order to sate the need for alcohol before extended periods of time when the soldier is not allowed to drink. Statistics collected state that 47% of active military personnel admit to participating in this binge drinking ritual regularly; a statistic that shows a huge negative threat to the health of U.S. troops.

The Department of Defense states that its policy is: [to] "prevent and eliminate drug and alcohol abuse and dependence from the Department of Defense." Still, the hangups with coverage for treatment through TRICARE is more or less at a standstill at the moment, and many of the soldiers most in need of treatment do not have the option of seeking it.

Until reform can be made through TRICARE and at the department of defense, policies have been put in place to try and curb the out-of-control drinking by soldiers, yet putting a policy in-place to treat these individuals is held back by red tape. In the meantime, New Dawn Recovery is still accepting and treating patients from a military background, and has openings in its New Dawn Recovery programs for any and all of the Armed Forces personnel.

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