Thursday September 29th 2016

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Addiction treatment for police officers

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Police officers and addiction treatment

Substance abuse amongst the ranks of police officers is astounding. Recent estimates have shown that almost a quarter of all police officers may suffer from a substance abuse disorder.

It should come as no great surprise that substance abuse is more prevalent among police officers that it is among the general population. Law enforcement officials have very high-stress careers, and encounter situations on a daily basis that regular citizens couldn’t even imagine. Instances of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) are high in the law enforcement community, as are other mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

Many addicted police officers may drink or do drugs in order to cope with the stresses of the job. Others may abuse prescription opioid painkillers just to be able to function after an injury. Some law enforcement officials may also find themselves addicted to illicit drugs after being undercover for a period of time. Overcoming an addiction is essential for the mental and physical health of police officers, and addiction treatment can even save an officer’s career. In order to be successful, however, police officer addiction treatment should incorporate the following services into treatment.

●    Intervention services
●    Peer-to-peer group counseling
●    Occupational stress management
●    Addiction education
●    Workplace re-entry plans
●    Strong follow-up care

Police officer drug addiction treatment

Despite the fact that law enforcement officer addiction is caused by different factors, police officer drug addiction treatment is generally the same as addiction treatment for the general public. The steps that police officers during drug addiction treatment are generally the same as the steps during traditional addiction treatment, with a few tweaks, of course.

1. Evaluation and assessment

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Addicted police officers will first undergo thorough evaluations and drug tests before they enter addiction treatment. An initial assessment is used to determine the severity of the addiction as well as the best type of treatment. Other mental disorders, such as PTSD and anxiety, may also be diagnosed at this time.

2. Detoxification

Withdrawal from drugs or alcohol is uncomfortable and can sometimes be dangerous. For a police officer, drug addiction treatment typically starts with detox. While detoxing in a facility, medical professionals constantly monitor recovering addicts to help make the process more comfortable and care for them in the event of an emergency.

3. Treatment

Police officer drug addiction treatment requires a multifaceted approach to be successful. During treatment, police officers will usually go through individual behavior therapy, group therapy, and family therapy during treatment. They will also typically be treated for any underlying mental disorders as well.

4. Aftercare

One of the most important parts of police officer drug addiction treatment is the aftercare. Many police officers recovering from addiction will need ongoing counseling and therapy, for instance. Police forces today are also more willing to allow a police officer to come back to work once they complete addiction treatment. Because of this, a re-entry program for recovering police officers is recommended. This often involves light duty at first, continued psychological monitoring, and routine drug and alcohol testing.

Police officer addiction treatment barriers

Not surprisingly, police officers have a number of obstacles that they must overcome both before and during addiction treatment. Some of the most common police officer addiction treatment barriers include:

●    A need for coping
●    Stigma surrounding addiction and treatment
●    Fear of career ending
●    Feeling out of place in a traditional addiction treatment setting
●    Inability to pay for treatment
●    Family responsibilities

Addicted police officers

Asking for help is often one of the last things that addicted police officers want to do. To get their lives back, however, this is imperative.

One of the first places that addicted police officers can turn to is their own doctor. Medical professionals are typically required to keep everything that patients tell them confidential. They will also usually be able to screen addicted police officers and refer them to treatment.

Law enforcement agencies also typically have measures in place to combat addiction among the ranks. Addicted police officers can speak with their superiors, for instance, or a department psychologist. If a police officer is uncomfortable with speaking to these individuals, he or she can also choose to call an anonymous substance abuse hotline for police officers or speak to a union representative.

Police officer addiction questions

Suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction is difficult for most people, to say the least. It’s a little more difficult, however, when the addicted people are required to uphold the law and arrest drug offenders. An addiction can ruin a police officer’s health, family, finances, and career if left untreated. If you or a loved one is a police officer struggling with addiction, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll do our best to answer any questions you may have about police officer addiction and help point you in the right direction toward recovery.

Reference sources: Law Enforcement Today: Addicted Cops
Police Magazine: Treatment and Redemption
Law Enforcement Today: Addiction Among Law Enforcement Officers
Police Forum: Debate
NCJRS: Abstract: Police drug use
NCBI: PubMed: Patterns and predictors of alcohol use in male and female urban police officers

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