May 27, 2020

Army Revises Failing Substance Abuse Program

The Army has announced changes to its drug and alcohol program, placing substance abuse treatment back under the watch of medical professionals, rather than the Army's Installation Management Command, which lacks medical expertise. 

The accouncement came after an investigation by USA Today showed that Army's substance abuse program was “in disarray.” Last year, 7,000 people who saught help through the program were turned away, and since 2010, 90 Army soldiers have committed suicide withing three months of recieving substance abuse help through the program. 

Under the revised program, treatment will have a more medical focus. 

“They're finally going to bring some reasonable and responsible action to help soldiers,” Dr. Patrick Lillard, a psychiatrist and former clinical director of the Army's largest in-patient substance abuse program at Fort Gordon, Ga., told USA Today

“It means that the direction of the substance abuse treatment program will be back in the province of medical people rather than command, so that decisions will be made by medical people” said Lillard, a vocal critic of the earlier change in management. “The people in command do not understand the nature of the (substance abuse) disease and the complications that occur.”

To read more about the change in policy and the investigation that promoted it, visit USA Today



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