Addiction and First Responders: Break the Silence

Drug Rehab and Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Fire fighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and police officers face inordinate stress and trauma on the job. Some become addicted to substances as a way to help stay awake, relax or numb feelings after facing tragedy. Others find they become addicted after being injured and come to enjoy the effects of morphine, Oxycontin, and other narcotic painkillers is also possible. Even those workers deemed most heroic are vulnerable to drug addiction.

However, admitting issues with drugs and alcohol can threaten first responder careers. Discretion, sensitivity, and effectiveness must all be considered in a treatment plan for first responders. This review will cover the unique challenges of first responders facing addiction and how to overcome them.

The Unique Circumstances

There is little information regarding addiction among other groups of first responders. However, trade journals estimate that drug or alcohol dependency among police officers is as high as 20 to 25 percent. There is more education on burnout and dealing with fatigue and stress, but some workers still fall through the cracks and find themselves seeking comfort in substances.

The problem is many of these jobs depend on their officers and workers remaining sober. Some police departments reject applicants with a previous history of drug use. Fire fighters and EMTs are subject to drug tests and a positive result can lead to suspension, if not termination. The need to make a living often eclipses honesty when these individuals face drug addiction.

However, not treating the condition compromises public safety. Drug and alcohol use reduces the ability to make judgments, perform procedures, and behave reasonably under stressful circumstances. One mistake in these professions can mean the death or disability of another.

This creates an ultimate Catch-22. The job itself presents the conditions that often lead to drug addiction and dependency. However, once that threshold is crossed, admitting the issue means losing the job–and a good support system. That is why there have been new ways to approach this issue that balance both first responders and public safety.

New Ways to Approach This Issue

Fortunately, with increased awareness, addiction in first responders is receiving more therapeutic attention as a health problem rather than as a discipline issue. The platform allows individuals to privately check their benefits and treatment options without going to a supervisor or HR, this ensures your privacy and insures returning safely to full duty.

Drug Rehab and Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab
Get Help Now is an excellent first step in knowing what your option are. HIPAA and FMLA laws will protect first responders who need to take a leave of absence for treatment. You can also speak to a live person at 24 hours a day. Sometimes, just being able to call someone to plan the next step can prove to be a lifesaver.

It is clear that accessing treatment and improving health is a much better approach than keeping it hidden. Knowing the symptoms of risky behavior means being able to confront them sooner; if you are a first responder who feels you “need” a drink or a particular drug to get through your shifts, it is likely you have an addiction issue. If you are the spouse, friend, or other relative of a first responder who display troubling symptoms, know that you can reach out without worrying about career repercussions.

5 Ways to Keep Calm And Stay Sober

Getting sober is easy, staying sober can be more challenging for many in recovery.  As alcoholics and addicts the obsession does not always go away immediately. For many in recovery drugs and alcohol were not the problem they were the solution to our problems. Our problems for many of us where within ourselves and we used drinking and drugging so that we could be ok with ourselves.


Staying focused, calm, and disciplined is very much the key to staying sober. newlife-four-320x480Finding a power greater then yourself is often a solution that work for many. 12 Steps programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous focus on ways to let go and let god, work on your internal character defects, make amends to the people you have harmed and improve your spiritual connection with your higher power by helping others.


Here are some vital tips for you or your family member that may be suffering from drug or alcohol abuse.

#1 – Remove the Physical Cravings

Very few people can stop “cold turkey” from drinking or drugging. Often times it can be dangerous or even fatal. First step is to get medical attention in the form of an outpatient or in patient detox. These facilities provide a safe way to slowly taper down safely in a medical setting.

#2 – Surround yourself by Sober People


We are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. Having a strong circle of sober support is vital to getting and staying sober. For many this may include a Treatment Center setting or residential sober house environment to help build a network of like mined people. Most in recovery find they make life long and no matter what friends in these environments. Often times you are able to continue to work and live a normal life and support family obligations, while having the support resources needed to stay sober.

#3 – 12 Step Program

Many people reject the idea of a 12 Step Program such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous because it is “not for them” without even trying it. However, many have found long time sobriety in these programs and built lifelong relationships with brothers and sisters in the program. It is free and has a fellowship that spans the entire globe. Joining is simple visit and look for a meeting in your area. Almost all meetings welcome the new comer to the meeting. Keep showing up and get involved in the meetings. Get a sponsor and work the steps and when you finish the steps you give back by sponsoring other people and helping other alcoholics and addicts.

#4 – Pray and Mediate

newlife-three-320x480Even if you are not a religious person prayer and meditation can be very helpful in your recovery. Take five minutes every morning to center you mind. Often a playlist for meditation or relaxing music can assist with this. Spend another five minutes praying to whatever higher power you believe in or the god of your understanding.  Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study of Tibetan Buddhists in meditation and Franciscan nuns in prayer which showed comparable decreased activity in the parts of the brain that are associated with sense of self and spatial orientation in both groups. He also found that prayer and meditation increase levels of dopamine, which is associated with states of wellbeing and joy.

#5 – Exercise

Exercise releases some of the same chemicals in your brain as drinking and drugging. Endorphins literally translates to “endogenous morphine”.  Your body becomes use to artificially substances in your body which binds to receptors in your brain. This causes a relaxed, stimulated, or high feeling. However, the receptors in the brain were designed to be trigger by naturally occurring chemicals in our body. Exercise on a regular basis releases these natural chemicals and over time becomes a great way to not only stay in shape but help maintain long term sobriety.

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