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J Soc Work Pract Addict. 2012;12(1):6-27. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Military Combat Deployments and Substance Use: Review and Future Directions.

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Senior Scientist, Heller School, Institute for Behavioral Health, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA.


Iraq and Afghanistan veterans experience extreme stressors and injuries during deployments, witnessing and participating in traumatic events. The military has organized prevention and treatment programs as a result of increasing suicides and posttraumatic stress disorder among troops; however, there is limited research on how to intervene with alcohol misuse and drug use that accompany these problems. This review presents statistics about post-deployment substance use problems and comorbidities, and discusses the military's dual role in 1) enforcing troop readiness with its alcohol and drug policies and resiliency-building programs, and 2) seeking to provide treatment to troops with combat-acquired problems including substance abuse.

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