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Substance abuse is sadly something that has become all too common amongst this nation’s law enforcement officers. There is no doubt about it, this is perhaps one of the most stressful jobs in the nation, and no one would argue that point. Also, police officers are far more commonly exposed to different types of drug substances than the average American is, and this simple factor of exposure can and often does lead to substance abuse on the behalf of the officer when it it is coupled with high stress on the job too.
There is no denying the very simple and very true fact that working as a police officer is one of the most stressful jobs in the world even. Any first responder job is stressful, but the job of a police officer is perhaps the most stressful of them all. While these professionals in their day to day lives do a lot of good for others in their communities and across their states, it often does takes a toll on their bodies, on their minds, and on their overall health and happiness as individuals. Subsequently, many people on police forces all across the nation end up turning to drugs or alcohol for relief from these substance abuse issues. Soon enough, they are addicted and unable to regain control of their lives and are totally lost in the very types of habits that they are trying to prevent in others.
There are more than a full one million full-time law enforcement employees throughout the United States of America. We as a nation have one of the biggest and strongest law enforcement bodies in the world. This is in addition to more than 100,000 part-time workers too in police departments all across the nation. With so many people working in this stressful field, it is only natural for a large number of them to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Studies show that no less than tens of thousands of police officers and law enforcement officials all across the nation are currently addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.
The Statistics on the Matter: Just How Serious This Issue Is
There are some pretty grim statistics that really showcase just how serious addiction is when it comes to police officers who abuse drugs and alcohol. Some of them as they pertain to alcohol abuse specifically are:
• Research suggests that officers consume alcohol at greater rates than the general population does. In law enforcement, cumulative stress is associated with an increased risk of alcohol abuse with an odds ratio of approximately 3 to 1. Law enforcement officers drink in greater quantities and have higher rates of binge drinking compared to non-officers by a pretty big margin. This drinking is not always off the job either, 25 percent of officers report having consumed alcohol while on duty at one point or another.
• In a 2011 study, it was found that 18.1 percent of male officers and 16 percent of female officers described “adverse consequences” from alcohol use, and 11 percent of male and 16 percent of female officers admitted to engaging in at-risk levels of alcohol use during the previous week alone. In another recent study, 33.9 percent of law enforcement students indicated excessive alcohol use compared to 26 percent of other students, and 44.8 percent of the lowest performing officers of the 632 surveyed exhibited “alcohol issues.”
• Alcohol and suicide in law enforcement are also closely linked. A 2010 study found the presence of alcohol in over 95 percent of police suicides. It is estimated that a peace officer commits suicide every 17 hours.
How to Help Police Officers Who Have Become the Effect of Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Helping a police officer who is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction is not nearly as simple as helping an average civilian who has a similar problem. When it comes to an addiction, no two people are the same by any means at all. With cops who suffer from substance abuse problems, they will also have a great deal of pride weighing on them too and an overall desire and hope that they can handle the problem on their own and without professional help. This is almost never the case though.
Furthermore, police officers will need standard treatment at a specialized center, but they will also need help nine times out of ten in a few different areas too. To go along with standard treatment, police officers may also require help in dealing with a variety of mental health problems, such as:
• Guilt resolution
• PTSD therapy
• Anger management
• Coping with violence
Why Police Officers Need to Go to Inpatient Rehab Centers for Their Addiction Problems
Police officers take great pride in their work, and it is often that pride that carries them forward and helps them be able to confront the types of difficulties that they inevitably deal with on a day to day basis. They enjoy and take great happiness in being able to help and protect others, even if it means putting their own lives on the line on a regular basis. This pride, however, can work against these professionals when it comes time to seek addiction treatment. It can make them think they can handle the problem themselves. No matter what profession anyone is in, addiction still affects every human being just as strongly as the next. In the end, even for police officers they will need all the help they can get to really beat these habits once and for all.
There is nothing to be embarrassed about in this. Having to go to rehab is not an embarrassing or belittling thing. In fact, it shows and showcases a huge amount of resolve and integrity for those who are willing to embark upon it. If a police officer or law enforcement employee requires any sort of addiction treatment, his or her peers are not going to look at him or her differently. In fact, such an officer may be surprised to find that many others have faced the same situation as him or her in the past. For professions in general, law enforcement does have a significantly high percentage of addiction per capita issues and problems.
How Does a Police Officer Go About Getting Into Rehab?
As a police officer in need of addiction treatment, one does need to go about getting help in a certain way that will then care to him or her specifically and his or her specific problems and difficulties. One can get started by following these simple tips:
Contact a rehab facility that has experience providing police officers with treatment and specializes in this type of service. A quick call to an addiction hotline or a referral service can result in information about multiple different centers that all cater to professional, working class Americans, and some will even have special services for police officers, emergency response technicians, ex-military individuals, and other types of careers that tend to have very high stress levels.
One needs to then discuss the situation with a supervisor, and one needs to go about letting him or her know what is currently happening and what needs to happen to resolve it.
Share the truth about the addiction crisis with loved ones, as they will be able to provide support and help overcome this challenge once and for all. Support from as many loved ones as possible will be totally invaluable in beating this problem once and for all.
Fighting addiction and also trying to fight crime at the same time can be very difficult and troubling and sometimes downright impossible to do. It is not this way though, and it never has been. One can certainly fight against and win against addiction once and for all and for good if one puts the right amount of effort into it. The truth is, police officers are just regular people too, and with the proper help from a rehab center they can receive all the types of help that they need to get better once and for all.