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How to fight substance misuse in the military community

In November, we celebrate Veterans Day and National Veterans and Military Families Month, a time to honor the brave men and women who have served in our armed forces. While it’s important to commemorate all that veterans have achieved for our country, this is also a time to remember the struggles many of our military comrades face year-round, including substance misuse and the stigma surrounding it.

Drug overdoses have skyrocketed in the last year, with a record-breaking 100,306 overdose deaths in the United States between April 2020 and April 2021. Through our efforts as leaders of two national nonprofits working to combat substance use disorders, we know that active military and veterans are particularly vulnerable to drug misuse. More than 1 in 10 veterans seeking care at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities meet the criteria for a substance use disorder, and veterans are twice as likely to die of an accidental overdose than the general U.S. population.