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Addiction Treatment In The Military: Marine Drug And Alcohol Rehab Programs

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

March 4, 2019

Holding a leadership position does not make a person exempt from unfortunate personal vulnerabilities, often times it can be the driving factor behind the stress that leads to substance abuse and addiction. While those in the military have dedicated themselves to the protection of the United States, dependency on alcohol or other drugs can still occur.

If you belong to a branch of the military, such as the Marines, you might be wondering what to do if you are dealing with an addiction. Thankfully, treatment is available all around the country for people in your circumstance.


It seems that a key aspect of military policy regarding drug or alcohol use hinges on prevention through education. For example, the Marine policy on drug or alcohol abuse states that prevention education, “can provide potential/present [members dealing with addiction] with information to clarify personal values, improve problem solving, and [develop better] decision making skills.”

Education involves information such as:

  • Early warning signs of drug or alcohol dependency
  • Difference between responsible drinking and alcoholism
  • Conduct of those living a healthy lifestyle
  • Ideas for alternative, recreational activities

Although the armed forces recognize that education is a powerful prevention tool, they know it can’t work as a complete deterrent for drug abuse. That’s why the various branches, such as the Marines, focus on a wide variety of techniques.

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The Marine Corps’ policy on drug abuse and prevention notes that unity is required in identifying potential drug or alcohol problems among its members. As a result, the Marines are dependent upon the vigilant cooperation of:

  • Officers
  • Staff non-commissioned officers
  • Non-commissioned officers

Leaders are also expected to set an example of proper conduct as a Marine. In doing so, they are said to reinforce the idea that problematic behaviors, such as drug abuse, are not tolerated.

Coming Forward About A Problem

People in the armed forces that are suffering from addiction need to come forward and admit they have a problem. First, they must voluntarily provide the information to a trusted leader. Then, the member in question will move forward with a professional evaluation to determine the severity of any addiction problem.

In the Marine Corps’ policy, it is stated that this type of situation will be handled carefully and with utmost respect. In other words, a Marine will not be demeaned when seeking treatment. The armed forces want their members to be healthy, happy, and productive soldiers and members of society and encourage rehabilitation for this reason.

The Rehab Process

Once evaluation has taken place, a treatment program is determined for the Marine. These forms of rehabilitation vary depending on the severity of the addiction, but each is provided within a military hospital. Treatment types are categorized as such:

  • Early intervention
  • Outpatient
  • Intensive Outpatient
  • Residential
  • Medically Managed

In addition, each form of treatment will be specifically tailored to fit the precise needs of the patient in need of rehabilitation. The program plan is determined by a physician and/or a clinical therapist.

Customizing a treatment plan ensures that Marines will be able to recognize triggers and develop efficient coping skills in order to prevent relapse. This promotes a smooth transition back into everyday life.

How To Get Help For A Marine

Drug addiction is a problem that is difficult to manage on your own. In fact, most management techniques are only temporary solutions. And in the world of Marine service, your addiction is more likely to be noticed. By the time other people begin to take notice, an addiction has reached a level of unpredictability.

Talking to a trusted leader in the military does not mean that the Marine will be shamed. In fact, honesty admitting a drug or alcohol dependency and seeking treatment requires a high degree of courage and is treated as an admirable act by superior officers.

Contact A Professional

The rehabilitation process for Marines is effective and is approached through a foundation of integrity and respect. To gain further understanding about addiction and how to seek treatment for a member of the military, contact us at today.

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