Among the many public-facing jobs, police officers often get the most scrutiny for how they do their jobs. Law enforcement officers are usually the first people on the scene of a crisis and see firsthand the effects of addiction. So it may be surprising to some people that addiction has run rampant in law enforcement too. Yet, people who work in this occupation are human like everyone else; addiction is a disease that does not discriminate.

Trauma And PTSD In Law Enforcement

Men and women who work in law enforcement often deal with situations the average member of the public can’t imagine. For some, this leads to PTSD or depression. These are genuine diseases that need treatment, but there isn’t a lot of awareness of it yet in these professions.

Law enforcement is also a career that can attract people who have been in the military, who may also be more vulnerable to PTSD due to their past experiences while serving.

Many people don’t know what is happening when they have symptoms of PTSD and self-medicate as best they can. Sometimes this means taking more opioids than they need after surgery or binge drinking on the weekends to quell anxiety.

There is no shame in having a mental health or substance use disorder. But once you realize you’re afflicted, it’s up to you to get proper treatment, diagnosis and help.

Signs of Substance Abuse Disorder

There are many signs and symptoms that you may look for if you suspect somebody you care about has a substance use disorder, but some may be specific to law enforcement careers.

They might include:

There are many indicators of substance use among law enforcement and first responder. First, it’s important to know that addiction is a disease. People from all walks of life struggle with substance use disorder. Once you recognize that you’ve got a problem, it’s time to seek help.

Getting Help for Addiction

We can help you reclaim your life in a safe, compassionate environment using the right treatment tools for you. Give us a call to learn more about your options at 619-452-1200.


Scott H. Silverman joined KUSI’s Elizabeth Alvarez on Good Morning San Diego to discuss a disturbing episode that nearly killed a San Diego Police Officer.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has released body camera footage of a deputy who accidentally overdosed when exposed to fentanyl. In July, Deputy David Faiivae was a trainee at the scene of an arrest when he collapsed after testing a white powder suspected to be either cocaine or fentanyl, said the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.A quick-witted partner of his administered Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses the effects of opioids, saving Faiivae’s life.

"What families need to understand is that even airborne fentanyl can kill you," Scott said.

The deadly drug fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid drug, 100 times more powerful than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as an analgesic.

Watch the entire segment on KUSI here.

The First and Most Important Thing

Help is available and treatment works. There’s absolutely no downside to reaching out for help immediately to ask questions about your current situation.

Call us now at (619) 452–1200 if you have any questions about addiction or recovery, for you or your loved one.

First Responders Are Expected to Need Help

First responders should not be shy about asking for help with a substance use disorder. It has always been 'part of the job,' and the recent pandemic and other societal factors have increased the stress that first responders and emergency personnel are under.

If you are a member of the police, fire department, or medical community, your organization has infrastructure to support you getting help.  Contact your employee assistance department to get help.

Who Pays for the Treatment?

First responders will job insurance and employee assistance programs to help pay for treatment.  When you work with the admissions department at a treatment program, they will help facilitate the process of contacting your insurance benefits provider and explaining what your 'out of pocket costs' (if any) will be. You will want to have a copy of your benefits card ready to show the admissions counselor.

Why First Responders Need Specialized Addiction Treatment

It is generally helpful for all people who seek treatment to be with their peers. Firemen, police, paramedics, and doctors respond better to treatment if it involves a group of other emergency personnel.  Our treatment center in San Diego provide outpatient treatment that many veterans and first responders.

First Responders Need Tools to Manage Stress

First responders will need to be given tools to manage stress as they returned to their professions. Mindfulness training and experiential activities are very helpful

Enhanced Relapse Prevention Training for those with Access to Medications  

Many first responders like doctors, nurses, and paramedics, will also often have access to medications when they return to their professions.  This requires additional relapse prevention tools so that the person .

Evidence Based Treatment

Read our article called Addiction Treatment 101 to learn about the various levels of treatment.  This article will answer many of your questions.  Access to the full range of other evidence-based treatment modalities. At our San Diego outpatient treatment program, here are some of the activities that recovering first responders participate in:

Why Wait When Help is Available Now?

Treatment that is effective and tailored to meet the needs of San Diego first responders is available now. Addiction is progressive and the people who really get better are those who get clinical help. Call us today to get the process started so that you or the first responder in your life gets the necessary help to live life without the influence of substances.

You can call us right now at (619) 452–1200 if you want to talk to one of America’s leading experts in overcoming addiction.



© 2021 Confidential Recovery, Outpatient Rehab in San Diego

About Confidential and Scott H. Silverman: Scott has been fighting  against addiction for over 20 years, one person, speech, and book at a time.  Contact us by calling (619)452-1200 or visit Your Crisis Coach to learn more about Scott's work and public appearances.  You can buy a copy of his latest book "The Opioid Epidemic" here.

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