Police Officers and Drug Addiction

November 30, 2009

There’s a stereotype that police officers have one of the highest rates of addiction and alcoholism as compared to other professions and industries in the United States. The job of a cop is certainly one that involves a great deal of stress, and stress is one of the biggest reasons that people first begin to drink or get loaded recreationally. The trauma witnessed on a daily basis can put police officers in the mood for a little escapism, another quality provided by alcohol and drug use. But is drug addiction that big of a deal for the men and women in blue? Or is it the problem of a select few, a relatively small percentage of the profession, just like it is for anyone else?

The Badge and the Bottle: The Evidence

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There really isn’t much. According to Officer.com, the often reported high rates of addiction experienced by police officers have yet to be substantiated by solid research. Anecdotal support abounds, but nothing more concrete. Though the cases of police officers who are addicted to drugs and alcohol or abuse them on the job are salacious and a happy topic for the media and prime time television shows, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that this happens at a higher rate among police officers than it does, say, among teachers or attorneys or street cleaners.

Police Offers and Drug Addiction: The Stress of the Job

What we do know is that being a police officer means that you regularly come into contact with the ugliest parts of life. The things that most of us can avoid (unless we decide to open a newspaper or turn on the news) most of the time are a daily occurrence for a police officer. Though admission to the job requires a great deal of psychological, mental and physical testing, there’s the idea that repeated exposure to the things that human beings do to each other when at their worst can take its toll. When dealing with murder, child abuse, domestic violence and assault on a regular basis, it stands to reason that alcoholism or drug abuse and addiction may become a factor for some.

Police Officers and Drug Addiction Treatment

Ultimately, whatever the reason for or rate of addiction among police officers in general, the existence of addiction means that treatment is necessary. Just like anyone else, it doesn’t matter how you became addicted to drugs or alcohol. If you are an addict or alcoholic, you will need detox and addiction treatment in order to successfully begin your recovery.

There are a variety of different types of treatment available to police officers and they are encouraged to get help before their work performance suffers. If a police officer has not yet had any complications on the job or suspensions due to behavior under the influence or drug possession, then an outpatient program may be a good start. In this way, he or she can keep up at work while still getting the treatment they need. In all other cases, inpatient drug rehab is recommended.

If you would like to learn more about what drug and alcohol treatment is available to you, contact Michael’s House today.

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