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Joining the Military as a Recovering Addict: Is It Possible?

Joining the Military as a Recovering Addict: Is It Possible?

In most cases, if a person has any prior drug or alcohol-related convictions, they will not likely be allowed to join the military. According to the Department of Defense, concerning the recruitment process, joining the military as a recovering addict may violate the high standards of behavior and performance that the military upholds. Depending on the level of substance abuse, mental health is jeopardized, which introduces a potential risk to others. Many factors are attributed to whether people can join the military, and you do not want to have a record associated with substance abuse.

Past Drug and Alcohol Abuse Affects Your Chances

Substance abuse in the military is not tolerated, but many people rely on drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism after experiencing trauma in the military. Still, young people who experimented with drugs or had an addiction problem that inspired committing crimes or that have a criminal record must go through a series of drug tests.

All applicants go through a screening process which includes cognitive testing, job selection, and enlistment. Plus, a medical evaluation where the recruiter will ask you about drugs you have taken and if you ever have sold or trafficked illegal drugs. If the answer is yes or an individual has been psychologically or physically dependent on substances, continuing the enlistment process is ceased.

If an individual does have the chance to complete the drug abuse screening form, then the military service will decide if that person can continue with the process. For those joining the military as recovering addicts, marijuana and substances are not considered “hard drugs'' and are typically overlooked. If an applicant is allowed to continue, depending on the drugs used and duration,  jobs may be limited while in the military.

How Common is Drug Use and Substance Abuse in the Military

Joining the military as a recovering addict is possible, but new military enlistment requirements are not as easygoing as before when it comes to substance abuse, especially alcohol. Yet, substance abuse disorders in the military are not uncommon, and the history of addiction resulting after duty is baffling.

Although illicit drug use is not tolerated, the rule does not prevent all substances by active military personnel. Over eight percent of active-duty individuals use illicit drugs, and the percentage rate continues to increase for those who leave the line of duty.

Many individuals who are in the military will abuse prescription drugs since these are more accessible. In addition, 5.4 percent of military personnel were considered heavy drinkers compared to 6.7 percent of the general population, and 12.4 percent reported that they had vaped within the last month. This resulted in serious health issues for many active-duty personnel.1

Addiction Recovery at Our Banyan Rehab Locations

Recovering from addiction, especially for those after leaving duty, should not be seen as a sign of weakness. Good mental health and control over your life, mind, and body are necessary. At Banyan, we offer medically monitored detox for those to go through withdrawals safely and effectively. Our experienced medical staff will help you through the recovery process. Find what programs work best for you! Our telehealth program grants remote therapy, which is convenient and efficient for veterans or active duty clients.

Some of our unique therapies include EMDR therapy, mental health treatment, and various forms of substance abuse and addiction treatments. Don’t hesitate to recover and regain your strength. We welcome you to many different levels of care and options, along with a relapse prevention plan.

Contact Banyan Treatment Center at 888-280-4763 and ask about our residential treatment services offered with the Military and Veterans in Recovery program

  1. NIDA - Substance Use and Military Life Drug Facts

Related Reading:
How to Stop Itching From Narcotics
Veterans Alcohol Abuse
Depression in the Military
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.