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SAMHSA News - March/April, Volume 14, Number 2


Recovery Web Cast Focuses on Veterans

Veterans face higher risks of alcohol and substance abuse than other people, according to a new SAMHSA Web cast, "Recovery and the Military: Treating Veterans and Their Families."

The second in a series of nine Road to Recovery 2006 Web casts to be developed by SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), the hour-long program offers information about preventing, identifying, and treating alcohol and substance abuse problems in veterans and their families.

In this series, a new Web cast premiers the first Wednesday of each month and is available for viewing anytime after that. The Web casts are part of the year-round activities leading up to National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in September.

In addition to CSAT Director H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., the panel discussion features Patricia B. Getty, Ph.D., Supervisory Public Health Advisor at SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention; Richard T. Suchinsky, M.D., Associate Chief Consultant for Addictive Disorders at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); Ezekial Pankey, Followup Counselor and Case Manager at the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training; treatment providers; and veterans themselves. Associate Director for Consumer Affairs Ivette Torres of CSAT hosts the program.

Soldiers exposed to combat "see things that most people don't witness, such as colleagues getting wounded or killed," explains Dr. Clark, noting that soldiers also are isolated from their family, friends, and communities. Once they're back home, veterans may begin using alcohol or drugs as a way of handling anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

These attempts at self-medication can spiral out of control and even lead to domestic violence, divorce, and homelessness. Spouses and children also are at risk of substance abuse. Fortunately, the Web cast explains, help is available for both veterans and their families through the VA and civilian counseling services and substance abuse treatment.

To view the Web cast, visit www.recoverymonth.gov/2006/multimedia/w.aspx?ID=470. As part of Road to Recovery 2006 and the Ask the Expert series, Dr. Suchinsky answers viewers' followup questions at www.recoverymonth.gov/2006/multimedia/expert1.aspx.

Additional information on veterans and substance abuse is available through SAMHSA's Office of Applied Studies at www.oas.samhsa.gov (see SAMHSA News, January/February 2006).

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Conference Supports Veterans

The May/June issue of SAMHSA News will feature coverage of "The Road Home: The National Behavioral Health Conference on Returning Veterans and Their Families—Restoring Hope and Building Resiliency."

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