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Brief Description

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Active duty and retired members of the armed forces are not immune to the substance use problems that affect the rest of society. The stresses of deployment during wartime and the unique culture of the military account for some differences between substance use in military members and civilians. Zero-tolerance policies and stigma pose difficulties in identifying and treating substance use problems in military personnel, as does lack of confidentiality that deters many who need treatment from seeking it.

Those with multiple deployments, combat exposure, and related injuries are at greatest risk of developing substance use problems. They are more apt to engage in new-onset heavy weekly drinking and binge drinking, to suffer alcohol- and drug-related problems, and start smoking or relapse to smoking. Like civilians, they risk addiction to opioid pain medicines prescribed after an injury. NIDA continues to examine the trends in substance use in specific populations, including military personnel, and search for better methods for preventing and treating substance use disorders that are specific to these populations.

Service members, veterans, and their families who need help dealing with substance abuse issues may find the following resources helpful:

Current Research

NIDA is currently funding 18 studies in this area for FY 2016. Open the accordion below for links that will take you to the project descriptions in the NIH RePORT database. You can also find recent publications of NIDA-funded research in the PubMed database. In addition, there are many clinical trials currently open to military personnel and veterans. For more information, see our Clinical Trials page.

NIDA Grantee Spotlight: Military Veterans and Smoking

Related Publications

Related Resources

Friends of NIDA 2013 Congressional Briefing

March 11, 2013: Washington, D.C. - Military Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families: How Substance Abuse Research is Effecting Positive Change, hosted by the Friends of NIDA in conjunction with the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus and the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse.

VHA's Opioid Safety Initiative Toolkit

The VHA recognizes the clinical challenges to successfully managing pain and prescribing safely for our Veterans while implementing the Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI) Directive and the Informed Consent Directive. The National Pain Management Program office convened a national task force comprised of multidisciplinary pain exerts to create an OSI Toolkit (evidence-based to the extent possible) to help guide the field.

The resulting Toolkit contains documents and presentations that can aid in your clinical decisions about starting, continuing, or tapering opioid therapy, and other challenges related to safe opioid prescribing. We trust you will find these tools useful for your clinical teams caring for Veterans with chronic pain.

Opioid Safety Initiative Toolkit Materials

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact: Your VISN or facility Pain Point-of-Contact (POC) through, email Pamela Cremo.

Press/Media Releases

Other Resources

Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies in human volunteers conducted to answer specific health questions. Learn about the NIH-sponsored clinical trials available to you.

Other Clinical Trials information sources:

This page was last updated April 2016

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    Cite this article

    NIDA. (2016, April 18). Military. Retrieved from http://www.henanqingdian.com/related-topics/military

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    Fighting Pain in the U.S. Military and Veterans Infographic