You’ll find a lot of active-duty and retired military service members in the state of Florida. Because of this, River Oaks aims to support the military community with information and resources for substance abuse treatment and recovery that’s geared specifically towards our military members.
Veterans experience substance use disorders (SUDs) at higher rates than the general population.1 SUDs in veterans most commonly occur with another mental health diagnosis, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).2
River Oaks TRICARE certified, and accepts TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select insurance to provide quality care to our nation’s veterans. Read on to learn more about:
- Where and how veterans can get help for substance use issues.
- How military service can lead to substance use disorders.
Veteran’s Recovery and Treatment Resources in Florida
Veterans’ mental health is a growing concern. The increasing numbers of combat veterans who are being diagnosed with SUDs and other mental health conditions have led to an increased focus on the need for effective care. There are various resources to provide help for veterans in managing these issues.
Florida Department of Veteran’s Affairs
The state of Florida offers its own department of the Veteran’s Affairs (VA), which allows veterans to understand and get care at the community level. It has offices throughout the state, offering assistance with your health benefits and point you in the direction of helpful service.
They also run a Florida Veterans Support Line which can be reached at 1-844-MyFLVet (693-5838) or 211.
Veterans Affairs (Federal)
The VA offers a variety of resources to help veterans at all locations, and offers an anonymous, confidential screening that can be completed online. The screenings aren’t a formal assessment, but they can help you understand if you or a loved one should speak to a medical or mental health professional.
Veterans who have experienced trauma, whether in combat or from other sources, may turn to substance use to cope with symptoms of PTSD.1, 3, 4 While all VA Medical Centers offer treatment for PTSD, there are several facilities in Florida that offer specialized PTSD programs to provide therapy for veterans.5
Eligible veterans are entitled to receive effective, evidence-based treatment at a VA rehab facility, including care for mental health disorders, trauma, and addiction.
VA treatment centers offer inpatient and outpatient services to meet the needs of veterans with SUDs, with therapy provided in individual and group sessions. Family or couples counseling sessions are also offered and medications are incorporated as needed to help reduce substance use and reduce cravings.
You can find the nearest VA medical center by using the VA facility locator tool.
Florida Veterans Association
This volunteer veteran’s advocacy organization isn’t a part of Veteran’s Affairs, but it can help retired service members in the state. The Florida Veterans Association offers several different services to veterans, including:
- Suicide prevention and opioid addiction awareness and information.
- Assistance with pensions for retiring veterans and survivors of veterans.
- A Statewide Veterans Charity Registry.
- Help registering for VA benefits.
You can find them at:
Florida Veterans Foundation
The Capitol, Suite 2107
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Phone: (850) 488-4181
Office for Suicide Prevention, Department of Children and Families
With a handful of monthly events, the Office of Suicide Prevention in Florida aims to educate and create public awareness of suicide and the stigma that surrounds mental health help.
Veteran Crisis Hotlines
Hotlines and websites are helpful resources for active military personnel and veterans who are struggling with substance use and/or mental health issues. Hotlines and websites aren’t only for veterans; families and friends of veterans can rely on these for support as well. Here are some helpful resources:
- Vets4Warriors is a confidential peer support service that is available to any service member, military veteran, family member, or caregiver. They are available at all times and strive to help people with challenges before they become crises. They offer a toll-free hotline, text messaging, e-mail, and an online chat service.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers assistance in finding licensed treatment providers for substance use and/or mental health disorders anywhere in the United States.
- Veterans Crisis Line is a confidential crisis line operated by the VA that is staffed around the clock to provide support to veterans, service members, and their friends and family. They can also be reached through a toll-free hotline, text messaging, and online chat.
- War Vet Call Center is a toll-free call center where combat veterans and their families can call to discuss any issues they are facing, such as those regarding experiences while in the service or any struggles with readjusting to civilian life. This call center is available 24/7 at 1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387).
- VetChange helps veterans learn how to cope with PTSD without drinking and it can be completed at your own pace.
River Oaks Accepts TRICARE
River Oaks in Tampa, Florida recently began accepting TRICARE insurance, which is for active-duty members of the military and veterans. Although we don’t offer a specific program for active-duty or veteran members of the military, being able to accept TRICARE means you or your loved one can start their recovery journey at an accredited and certified treatment facility.
TRICARE is a healthcare program for current and former military service members and their families. It provides comprehensive healthcare coverage, including prescription medication benefits.
TRICARE offers coverage for substance use treatment and mental health services as long as they are medically necessary and utilize techniques that have been proven to be effective.
Recovery First’s Program
River Oaks isn’t the only addiction treatment facility that American Addiction Centers operates in Florida. Recovery First located in Hollywood has a program designed to treat military veterans with addictions.6 The program is tailored to meet the specific needs of veterans seeking recovery and does so by focusing on more than just substance use.
Combat veterans frequently have a history of exposure to extreme and traumatic situations. Whether this is due to exposure to combat, military sexual trauma, injuries sustained, or other factors, these experiences can lead to the development of PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction, and difficulty adjusting back to civilian life.1, 4, 5 These issues can make it difficult to maintain social relationships and cause problems at home or work.
Recovery First offers an inpatient rehab program that treats veterans as a whole by using a variety of highly effective treatment approaches, including:
- Medically supervised detox.
- Relapse prevention.
- Individual therapy.
- Group therapy.
- Family therapy.
- Wellness programming.
- Anger management.
- Education about PTSD.
- 12-step program offerings.
- Learning how to cope with grief and loss.
- Coping skills for managing chronic pain without relying on addictive substances.
Many of the staff involved in the veterans’ program have firsthand experience with these issues and can help you find a healthier and happier way of life without the use of alcohol or drugs.
Veteran Treatment Facts
Veterans are more likely to develop problems with substance use and mental health disorders than the general population. In 2016, Florida had the third-highest concentration of military veterans in the United States (nearly 1.6 million).6
In a breakdown by war, researchers have found that:3
- 30% of Vietnam veterans have experienced PTSD at some point in their life.
- Approximately 12% of Gulf War veterans have PTSD each year.
- Between 11-20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD each year.
Among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, it is estimated that 37-50% have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, such as PTSD or depression.1 Nearly 25% of veterans with PTSD also have a SUD.4
Active-duty military and retired service members have sacrificed so much for our country. Thankfully, much-needed resources for addiction and other mental health disorders are available to these brave men and women in Florida, you just have to know where to look.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Substance use and military life.
- Teeters, J.B., Lancaster, C.L., Brown, D.G., & Back, S.E. (2017). Substance use disorders in military veterans: Prevalence and treatment challenges. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 8, 69-77.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018). How common is PTSD in veterans?
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2019). Alcohol and substance abuse in PTSD.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018). Florida PTSD program.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2016). Veteran population projection model 2016.