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Substance abuse among the military, veterans, and their families

National Institute on Drug Abuse Topics in Brief Series – 2011

Provides an overview of the problem of substance abuse in the military, veterans, and their families. Reports on the growth of prescription drug abuse and heavy alcohol use among military personnel. Notes that alcohol abuse is the most prevalent substance abuse problem. Describes how drug and alcohol use are connected to mental health problems and the growing number of military suicides. Summarizes finding from a study that identifies increased risk of alcohol-related problems (as well as tobacco smoking) among young members of the military, Reserve, and National Guard who experience combat exposure. Provides an overview of NIDA-supported research into prevention and treatment strategies, particularly for veterans. Notes the growth of specialized drug courts for the veteran population. Also notes the importance of research into co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders among active-duty military and veterans.