Addiction Treatment for First Responders

Addiction Treatment in Tampa-St. Petersburg
Learn about customized addiction rehab available for first responders or check your benefits for coverage of addiction treatment services.
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Customized Addiction Treatment for First Responders

First responders face the unimaginable and often live with the hidden wounds of burnout, chronic stress, PTSD, and addiction. Our first responders addiction program is designed to help our communities’ heroes learn how to rebuild their lives from trauma they’ve experienced.

Who We Treat

female firefighter in gear after fighting a fire

The constant exposure to trauma, chronic stress, and the pressure to perform under immense pressure can take a toll. Our program is specifically designed to address the underlying issues that can lead to addiction and help first responders, including:

  • EMTs.
  • Police officers.
  • Firefighters.
  • 911 operators.
  • ER nurses.

If you are a first responder who needs help for addiction, we’re here for you. Call us today at 640-227-3951.


Our First Responder Rehab Program

At River Oaks, we offer many levels of care to meet you where you are and provide the right treatment for you. Our program makes treatment accessible, whether you need more intensive inpatient care or a more flexible outpatient treatment option. At our inpatient rehab near Tampa, we also offer:

Addiction Program Topics

The first responders’ program at River Oaks in Riverview, FL near Tampa empowers first responders to reclaim their lives and reconnect with what matters. Through our unique program, we help our first responders realize they can rebuild from their trauma.

You can expect to learn about the following topics while in treatment:

  • Hypervigilance
  • Character and values
  • Impact of stress
  • Post-traumatic responses
  • Family & relationships
  • Cognitive distortions
  • Needs in recovery
  • Pain management
  • Grief & loss
  • Forgiveness
  • Moral injury
  • Relapse prevention

Patients are grouped with other first responders, just like them. We help them unpack what they are “supposed to be able to handle” and replace it with healthy expectations and coping mechanisms. Our team guides them expertly through methods of overcoming their compassion fatigue to allow themselves to accept help, instead of avoiding a focus on self.

A Typical Day at River Oaks
6:30 am
8:00 am
Town Hall Meeting
9:00 am
Specialized Group Sessions
10:30 am
Process Group
12:00 pm
Lunch & Personal/Recreation Time
1:30 pm
Recovery Group
3:00 pm
Focus Group
6:30 pm
Dinner & Personal/Recreation Time
7:30 pm
Wrap Up


Substance Use and Addiction Among First Responders

River Oaks Treatment Center photo

First responders are the pillars of our safety, confronting emergencies and trauma head-on.  However, the constant exposure to danger, stress, and emotional burdens can take a significant toll.

This relentless pressure can lead some first responders down a path of addiction, often as a way to cope with the emotional weight they carry.  This hidden struggle can have devastating consequences, impacting their personal lives, careers, and the communities they serve.

Police Officers

Police officers face a unique set of circumstances that significantly increase their risk of developing addiction. Some of these factors include:

  • Chronic stress – Part of the nature of police work is a near constant exposure to high-pressure situations like crimes, accidents, and responding to calls that may involve death.
  • Exposure to Trauma — Police work involves regularly witnessing traumatic events, which can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
  • Shift Work and Sleep Deprivation — Unpredictable work hours and shift changes disrupt police officers’ sleep schedules, making them more susceptible to fatigue and increased stress.
  • Lack of Work-Life Balance — The demanding nature of police work often leaves little time maintaining a healthy work-life balance or relaxation, further contributing to stress and a lack of healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Public Scrutiny — Police are constantly under public scrutiny, which can lead to criticism and judgment, further adding to the pressures of the job.


EMTs witness situations that are often outside their immediate control. The unpredictable nature of emergency calls and the inability to always achieve positive outcomes can lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness.

The nature of the critical work EMTs do can have them living with:

  • Chronic stress.
  • Exposure to trauma.
  • Shift work and sleep deprivation.
  • Lack of work-life balance.

Additionally, EMTs may also struggle with compassion fatigue. Regularly providing emotional support to patients in distress and witness repeated suffering can take its toll, leading to feelings of burnout, emotional exhaustion, anxiety and depression.


Firefighters face a unique set of challenges that contribute to a higher risk of addiction. While firefighters are the first line of defense when responding to natural disasters and fires in our communities, they are often first on scene when responding to accidents and other emergencies. The nature of their work involves constant exposure to high-pressure situations like battling infernos, rescuing individuals in dangerous situations, and witnessing loss of life.

Like other first responders, firefighters also grapple with:

  • Chronic stress.
  • Exposure to trauma.
  • Shift work and sleep deprivation.
  • Lack of work-life balance.

Additionally, the physically demanding nature of the job can lead to chronic pain and injuries.

First Responder Rehab in Florida

River Oaks Treatment Center photo

If you are a first responder struggling with addiction, or love one who is, reach out to us today.

We make the process of getting help easy. You can call us day or night at and we will work with you to verify your benefits, talk about your needs, review with you what to expect in our program, and start the process of entering treatment at River Oaks.

Using Insurance to Pay for Rehab

Most health insurance plans now cover mental health and substance abuse services. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made these services essential health benefits.

River Oaks is in-network with many insurers, including Humana, BlueCross BlueShield, TriCare and many more.

Be Brave: Choose Help

River Oaks Treatment Center photo

No one gets left behind on the field or on the floor. Shouldn’t it be the same with your addiction treatment? Find your purpose again through healing your substance abuse with a renewed human connection.

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