Firefighters and police officers have two of the most dangerous jobs.
First responders like these are often asked to put themselves in harm’s way and to run toward situations that most people would run from. Several studies link stressful jobs to drug addiction and alcohol abuse.
The ability to collect accurate information in regards to first responders and substance abuse is a challenge because most people do not openly admit they have a problem with drugs or alcohol…..at least not at first. Fortunately, it is never too late to get help if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction. There are facilities who will uphold your privacy and give you the tools for a successful recovery.
First responders experience more cases of PTSD and other stress-related disorders.
There is no shame in admitting you have a problem with addiction, especially if you are someone who is constantly putting your own life on the line. Sean Riley describes his experience with being a police officer and suffering from addiction in his 2012 Cops and Addiction. He writes,
“I served in many different capacities; field training officer, gang officer, D.A.R.E. instructor, school resource officer, homicide detective and my final assignment… drug addict.”
First responders who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have to wear many different masks.
They face a constant battle of trying to conceal their private turmoil. If you are a first responder and are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please know that help is available. You are not alone: many officers, medics, and firefighters have struggled just as you have and are now in treatment. People in recovery have found a new freedom and a new happiness. For those of you who risk your lives on a daily basis, it’s time to let us rescue you.