Health & Safety

March 15, 2013

Doctor: Substance abuse research progresses

by Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON D.C. — Defense Department officials are developing research-based methods to curb substance abuse among service members, their families and veterans, a senior DOD medical official said, March 11.

Dr. Michael E. Kilpatrick, deputy director for force health protection and readiness programs in the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for force health protection and readiness, spoke as part of a congressional series on Capitol Hill.

The briefing was sponsored by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which supports research on substance abuse and associated mental health problems among active-duty members, their families and veterans.

Kilpatrick, who spent 25 years as a Navy physician, outlined some of the research that looks promising for those who battle substance abuse in addition to mental health issues. His years of research and clinical care made him realize that “the more we do, the more we need to do,” he said.

The doctor noted the major advances of saving lives with top-notch U.S. military medicine in war zones. “We’re doing a great job with those physical wounds,” he said, but he added that Defense Department officials want to focus on the invisible wounds of war and know much more needs to be done.

“We recognize there are tremendous stressors and going to war in itself is a stressor,” Kilpatrick said. “Not knowing what the outcome is going to be, not knowing exactly when you’ll be back or what’s happening to your loved ones while you’re gone are stressors.”

Studies and research have shown that the act of going to war, even without engaging in combat, is a tremendous stressor, he added.

Several programs are underway in DOD to help battle substance abuse and mental health issues and the Army and Marine Corps have begun resilience training for that reason, he said.

“We try to get service members to understand what their strengths are,” Kilpatrick said. “What did they grow up with? What were the strengths that got them to the Army or the Marine Corps? And how do they build on those strengths to develop even better coping skills to withstand the stressors that come with the military?”

To detect mental health and substance abuse problems, Kilpatrick said, every service member goes through a health assessment after deployment, followed by yearly assessments. The Army, he added, does health assessments in the combat theater every year.

“In each of those assessments, there are questions about mental health, about post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide ideation and depression,” Kilpatrick said, noting assessments also include questions about alcohol and tobacco use.

“We find a very high rate of people who respond that they think they’re having trouble with alcohol,” he said.

A presidential executive order requires DOD and the Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services departments to work together to provide mental health services, suicide prevention information and substance abuse treatment, Kilpatrick said. All the departments will operate on the same programs to treat mental health and substance abuse issues, with common language and nomenclature, he added.

“That way, there is a single network and not three or four independent systems,” he noted. “As we look at strategies over the next three to four years, we’ll look at how to improve. It’s been an exciting step forward.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Perry Covington

Master Sgt. Bode named AFRC’s 2014 Crew Chief of the Year

U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Perry Covington Master Sgt. James Bode, Air Reserve Technician and dedicated crew chief, 752nd Aerospace Maintenance Squadron, March Field, runs through some routine maintenance checks on his KC-135 S...
 
 

Retired reservist finds inspiration through loss

(Final in a three-part series chronicling Angela Alexander’s incredible story which led to a book, a ministry and now, a documentary.) Following the untimely death of her two sons in a car crash, Angela Alexander, a retired Air Force Reservist, faced the challenge of sharing her story with the world. She knew God wanted her...
 
 

Acting under secretary of the Air Force appointed

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — President Barack Obama appointed Lisa S. Disbrow to serve as the acting under secretary of the Air Force March 30. Disbrow will take over for Eric Fanning who was recently appointed as chief of staff for Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. “Lisa Disbrow is already a tremendous asset to our Air Force...
 

 

AF Smart Operations of the 21st Century Training Course

Students feverishly poured over charts and graphs as they worked their way through the presented problem at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., during a five-day, Air Force Smart Operations of the 21st Century (AFSO21) Green Belt Training Course from March 22nd to March 27th, 2015. A gathering of both enlisted and officers alike, the group...
 
 

Earth Day 2015 Recycling Facts

Recycling just 48 cans is the energy equivalent of conserving one gallon of gas Since 1990, the paper recovered through U.S. recycling efforts would fill 200 football stadiums to a height of 100 feet The most recycled consumer product in America is the automobile, with 26 cars being recycled every minute Every ton of recycled...
 
 
NCO-induction

Induction ceremony recognizes NCO/SNCO accomplishments

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell McMillan Airmen being inducted into the NCO and SNCO ranks sit in the Cultural Resource Center April 11, 2015, during the induction ceremony. The ceremony recognizes and applauds the a...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin