Curbing Substance Use Disorder within the Army

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Management

Document 1

Studies have indicated that service members are at a significantly heightened threat of developing Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and particularly those members deployed to combats (Lande et al. A study by Lan et al. (2016) revealed that 44% of service members deployed in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq showed challenges of integrating back into the society which included the development SUD. In addition, research by the Kelsall (2015), indicated that these service men and women 1. 14 more likely to develop SUD when compared to the other service members who served during the same period but were neither deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The positive correlation between PTSD and SUD is well explored by many researchers and results indicate a higher rate of co-occurrence between PTSD and SUD (Norman et al.

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In their study, Norman et al. , (2018) contend that 58% of all individuals seeking treatment for SUD also meet the criteria for PTSD and that 68% of all servicemen recently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan who are seeking treatment for SUD also show signs of PTSD. Therefore, military experiences are highly traumatic thereby resulting in PTSD. To curb this PTSD, many service members and veterans find themselves resorting to drugs and substances use which often results into SUD. Coupled with a stressful working culture and environment, alcohol may become the go-to solution for many in the service. Also, military personnel experiences a lot of inactivities. There are usually short stints of intense actions which are then followed by long periods of inactivity and boredom thus drugs may be used to reduce boredom.

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Further, other soldiers use stimulants to stay awake especially during night patrols. Thus, extensive social and physical availability of cheap alcohol within and around the military base is a key contributor to SUD since sooner or later these individuals upgrade to more hard substances such as marijuana. Any military success is founded of total obedience of orders from the superiors and disobedience may result in disobeying orders which may put many lives at Risk. Importantly, drugs have shown to damage the lives of many brave young men and women who have risked their lives to fight for their country. This is because SUD has shown to decrease the performance of troops which puts their lives at a greater risk of injury and death.

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According to Michael’s House (2018), a nationally recognized provider of treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and co-occurring mental health issues, drug use levels within the US military are at epic levels. Over 17,000 service men and women have been discharged from service since 1999 as a result of drug use. However, the major concern has been on how to prevent SUD rather just looking for ways to treat it. As already discussed one of the major cause of SUD is the PTSD that many soldiers and veterans develop as a consequence of the traumatic experiences during their deployment. This has caught the eye of the DoD and as a result, the Department has tried to come up with the ways of preventing PTSD instead of waiting for it to occur then try to cure it.

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Therefore, the army has decided to adopt the simple principles of positive psychology in coming up with a soldier fitness program. Positive psychology strive to build mental toughness of individuals (Cornum et al. Further, over 95% of the participants reported having used the skills learned in the program both at the job and their private lives. These results indicate that the MRT has been an overwhelming success in the short period of time that it has been used as it has proved to help the officers improve their psychological resilience. It has brought down the prevalence of PTSD which has shown to have a strong positive correlation with SUD. Therefore, it is important that each Sergeants Major ensure that their forces undergo the program.

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One advantage of MRT is that the course only takes 10 days and thus it is relatively cheap and easy to implement since the program is modeled in such a way that the trainees themselves become trainers as well by training other officers. D. , & Seligman, M. E. P. Comprehensive Soldier Fitness: Building resilience in a challenging institutional context. , McGurk, D. , Cotting, D. I. , & Koffman, R. L. S. D. , Creamer, M. C. , McKenzie, D. org/10. 1093/epirev/mxu014 Lan, C. , Fiellin, D. A. , Barry, D. The epidemiology of substance use disorders in US Veterans: A systematic review and analysis of assessment methods. American Journal on Addictions, 25(1), 7–24. https://doi. org/10. 1111/ajad. Army. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 27(3), 115–121. https://doi. org/10. 1080/10550880802122711 Michael's House Treatment Centers (2018). B. Physical and social availability of alcohol for young enlisted naval personnel in and around home port.

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