Drug rehab

Alcohol and Drug Rehab for Veterans: A Guide

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Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Are you a veteran dealing with drug and alcohol addiction? If yes, Avenues Recovery Center provides resources to educate people about substance abuse and treatment. You can speed up the recovery process by connecting with a trustworthy and reliable veterans' alcohol rehab center or drug abuse rehab center. Avenues Recovery is directly affiliated with Veteran Affairs as well as Tricare, and educates patients suffering from substance dependency so they can heal their mind, body and soul and create a healthy, rewarding lifestyle.

Veterans Drug Rehab: Why Do Veterans Go to Rehab?

When veterans return home from military service, they struggle to adjust to civilian life. They may have traumas sustained during military combat and operations, which can become a major challenge for them to cope with. They can get traumatic flashbacks, which often result in post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD in veterans.

The rate of PTSD is high among veterans, especially Marine Corps and Army personnel. Those who experience severe and even moderate combat-related traumas struggle to get those images out of their mind and mitigate their mental health issues. To cope with their mental and physical illness, they often resort to drug use. That’s the reason drug and alcohol abuse is common among veterans. The best treatment process to eliminate drug dependency is to attend drug and alcohol rehab for veterans.

Learn more about the connection between Trauma and Drug Addiction here!

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Veteran Substance Abuse Statistics

Alcohol and drug use in the military is unfortunately quite common. In 2019, 6.2 percent of veterans had substance use disorder. Most veterans develop an addiction to opioid painkillers after they obtain a prescription for injury and pain. However, authorities are taking measures to prevent opioid addiction and misuse through various methods. The use of opioid painkillers was reduced by 50% from 2011 to 2015 among service members. Numerous studies claimed that excessive use of prescription opioids increases dependency risks [1]. In another research, experts found that 2 out of 10 veterans diagnosed with PTSD, also show symptoms of substance use disorder or SUD.

The United States Army published a memo warning people in the military to avoid benzodiazepines for the treatment of PTSD. They claimed that benzodiazepines slowed the trauma recovery process, and is not effective in the long term. Besides opioids, veterans also tend to abuse other illicit drugs - one of the most common being marijuana. According to a 2017 survey, 4% of veterans use illicit drugs. Among those, 3.5% started smoking marijuana. Data collected from various studies suggest that veterans are at risk of becoming smokers. Out of those veterans who smoke, more than 27% are at risk of developing deadly diseases such as coronary heart disease.


Veteran Affairs and Drug Rehab

Drug and alcohol abuse treatment plans are different for veterans than for the average civilian American. This is because they have to face unique challenges while coping with their addictive behavior. This could be survivor’s guilt, PTSD, or military-related stress. Veterans need to address their issues and overcome their dependency on drugs. Drug and Alcohol rehab for veterans has trained staff with the ability to deal with uniquely veterans’ issues. Furthermore, these caretakers have the skills to build communities among participants and guide them through overcoming drug and alcohol addiction.

Veteran Affairs is the largest integrated healthcare network in the entire United States. The facility supports many veterans throughout the country. The Veteran Affairs drug and alcohol rehab offers wide-ranging options for drug abuse treatment. VA facilities are crucial for veterans to help them live healthy life beyond their military service. The Community Care program enables veterans to utilize their VA benefits for alcohol and drug abuse treatment at various different veterans rehab centers.

Veteran Affairs offers notable benefits when it comes to drug rehab for veterans. Their benefits include:

  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Vocational training
  • Grants for education
  • Pensions
  • Disability compensation
  • Health care
  • Life insurance
  • Job placement
  • Financial loans
  • Burial


VA Community Care Network (CCN) works with different facilities and providers to offer the best treatment to veterans. VA treatment programs are in high demand since veterans experience a lot in their life and recovery can be a challenge. If you want to join the VA facility, you can put your name on the waitlist and they will contact you when there’s availability. If you prefer, another option is to join a private treatment center that provides drug rehab for veterans.

Coverage for Veterans Rehab Centers

If you are a veteran dealing with substance abuse, Veteran Affairs drug and alcohol rehab would be your first option to seek care. However, there are numerous other options as well. If there is no available space in VA programs, or if the facility isn’t offering the specific care options you want, you can opt for other treatment providers.

Here are some insurance policies you can consider to cover your treatment expense:

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1.      Tricare for Veteran Drug Rehab

Tricare is a healthcare program for retirees and military service members. Tricare supports veterans as well as active-duty military members by offering them health coverage. Tricare for substance abuse coverage can be used with your Veteran Affairs benefits for drug or alcohol rehab. Tricare offers a myriad of affordable and comprehensive healthcare options coverage all around the world. Some of the treatments offered by Tricare:


2.      Medicare

This is a federal program that offers health insurance to Americans with certain disabilities who are over the age of 65. This program helps veterans with their drug abuse treatment as well. However, keep in mind that VA and Medicare benefits cannot be used simultaneously.

Suppose you have VA as well as Medicare insurance; If you will opt for a Veteran Affairs drug rehab program or visit a VA doctor, you can avail yourself of VA benefits. But if you choose to join a private treatment program or visit a non-VA doctor, you can apply with Medicare Part A and Part B.

Many veterans prefer a VA hospital or Veteran Affairs drug rehab programs for drug and alcohol abuse since it offers better benefits than Medicare. However, when the VA program is full or it’s too far away from home, veterans avail of Medicare benefits. Be sure to evaluate both options thoroughly before deciding.


3.      Medicaid

Medicaid helps low-income individuals with their medical conditions. According to a review, almost 10% of veterans cannot afford their drug abuse treatment expenses [2]. If you have financial issues, you can seek help from Medicaid. Also, remember that not every addiction program accepts Medicaid. Therefore, you must check before registering. Learn more about Medicare and Medicaid for Drug Rehab.

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Inpatient vs. Outpatient Programs: Drug Rehab for Veterans

Both outpatient and inpatient drug rehab for veterans have upsides and downsides. Consider your options depending on your specific needs and other individual factors, including the amount of support you’ll require, the severity of your drug addiction, personal preferences, and cost considerations. Here are some common treatment options:

  • Residential inpatient treatment
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Outpatient counseling
  • Self-help groups
  • Evening and weekend programs

What Should Veterans Look for in Rehab?

Veterans may get involved in drugs due to numerous reasons including homelessness, unemployment, separation from loved ones, and military-related stress and traumas. When considering rehab for veterans alcohol or drug rehab, here are a few things veterans should consider choosing on their path to recovery:

  1. Pick a VA or private trauma therapy designed to rewire their brain. These processes help veterans heal from their traumas and overcome painful memories.
  2. Choose a dual diagnosis program that helps with addiction challenges and mental health problems.
  3. A community-focused recovery center is preferred.
  4. Registering with a rehab center that offers insurance benefits to veterans is ideal.


Military veterans have a plethora of reasons to develop drug and alcohol dependency. Since they have been through a lot of hardship and traumas, they might need prescription opioids to control their mental health issues. However, prescription opioids are addictive and likely to lead to drug abuse. Veterans suffering from drug addictions should consult with a VA facility center or private drug abuse treatment center. In both conditions, they can cover your treatment with health insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

By now you hopefully have a basic idea about drug and alcohol rehab options for veterans. Got any other questions? See these frequently asked questions below:

Where Do Veterans Go for Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

Generally, veterans visit Veteran Affairs drug and alcohol rehab for treatment. These programs offer vocational, social, medical, and rehabilitation therapies. The treatment involves psychiatric care, rehabilitation, and detoxification.

How Long is Drug Rehab for Veterans?

Drug and alcohol treatment programs for veterans can last up to 48 months. However, there’s no set length of time. The doctors will determine the treatment duration depending on the patient’s individual condition and progress.


Drug and Alcohol Rehab for Veterans at Avenues Recovery

Although it may be challenging, recovery from addiction is extremely rewarding. If you or a loved one are seeking drug rehab for a veteran, do not hesitate to reach out to us. At Avenues Recovery, we offer a variety of treatment programs and resources designed to help you recover. Our staff is equipped to help veterans overcome their addictions, and we are directly affiliated with Veterans Affairs as well as Tricare. Contact Avenues Recovery to start your journey to recovery today!



[1] www.ptsd.va.gov

[2] www.cbpp.org

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