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Rehabilitation Program for Veterans with Alcohol and Drug Problems

VAs and Courts Work to Help Vets Get Lives Back on Track

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Updated March 18, 2009

Veterans have been found to experience a number of difficulties, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, physical health problems, and problems controlling anger.

High rates of drug and alcohol use are also commonly found among veterans, especially those with PTSD. As a result, many veterans find themselves faced with legal problems.

In response to this problem, several Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAs) across the country are teaming up with the local court system to provide veterans charged with non-violent alcohol- or drug-related offenses a second chance to get their lives back in order.

How The System Works

In this system, VAs work with the local court system to create Veterans Treatment Courts, which specifically target veterans charged with non-violent alcohol- or drug-related felonies. When a veteran is charged with one of these offenses, he or she is diverted to these courts, and their sentences are either delayed or replaced with inpatient or outpatient treatment provided by the VA. In addition, veterans are provided with a mentor who assists the veteran with employment, housing, or other issues.

All veterans are assessed by a VA-affiliated mental health professional who will determine the best treatment program for that veteran. Throughout treatment, the veteran's progress is closely monitored by the judge and VA team to make sure that the veteran succeeds.

The goal of this voluntary program is to provide the veteran with the opportunity for rehabilitation, hopefully reducing the likelihood of future drug- and alcohol-related problems.

So far, only three programs like this have been created in the United States. Specifically, there are programs in New York, Alaska, and Oklahoma; however, several other cities across the United States are working on developing similar programs.

You can learn more about this important program at the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

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