When Elvis Presley was stationed in Europe during his military service, his fellow soldiers introduced him to amphetamines and other stimulants used to help keep them alert during long, boring patrol duties. Elvis became addicted to the little brown and green pills – and brought the problem back home with him to Graceland. The King’s death decades later (as a result of a prescription drug overdose) opened many people’s eyes to problems of drug use in the military – a concern that still exists today as thousands of American soldiers are currently fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Drugs in the military threaten our national security because they lower the readiness of our troops. They undermine authority and the strict order that fuels military efficiency. And most importantly, they damage human lives – the lives of the brave men and women who risk their lives to fight for our freedoms.

What are the Reasons behind Heavy Drug use in the Military?

drugs and alcoholCurrently, there are several reasons why drug use in the military has reached the highest level in many years.
  • Stress. The soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are constantly under fire from the enemy insurgents. Coping with this stress on a day-to-day basis in the field has led many to drugs as a means of self-medication.
  • Access. Even though a “zero tolerance” policy has been in place in the military for several years, more soldiers have greater access to drugs than ever before. Family members and friends are sometimes able to ship the drugs overseas via courier, or soldiers returning to duty may bring them back from the U.S. as well.
  • Inactivity. Service in the military is usually represented by short periods of intense action – followed by long stretches of inactivity and boredom. These long stretches where there is little to do lead many to fill the time with drug use.
  • Alertness. As mentioned above, many soldiers will use stimulants as a means of enhancing alertness during patrols or nighttime duty.

What Happens when an Individual uses Drugs in the Military?

The armed forces of the United States are not prone to hand-holding when it comes to drug abuse within its ranks. While there are some drug rehab programs available to soldiers on active duty, the more common response to the problem is dishonorable discharge. In these situations, a soldier receives a “black mark” on their record that can follow them for many years to come – even in civilian life where it may be difficult to find a job as a result.

Michael’s House is a residential drug treatment facility located in Palm Springs, California. The team of addiction recovery experts at Michael’s House is well-equipped to help individuals overcome their physical and psychological addiction to drugs and alcohol. Contact Michael’s House today for more information.