Addiction Treatment for Veterans in Florida
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In recent years, public awareness of veterans’ mental health and the toll of military service has increased. According to a 2019 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 1 in 10 veterans have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD), the medical condition defined by the compulsive use of a substance despite the negative consequences.1 Rates of substance misuse among veterans tends to be higher in men between the ages of 18 and 25 when compared with the civilian population.1 Despite the resounding evidence that military service members are at risk of developing SUDs, the stigma surrounding veterans’ mental health persists. Only about 10% of veterans diagnosed with a SUD seek treatment.2
The state of Florida has the third-largest population of veterans living in the United States.3 With the knowledge that mental health and addiction affect a large percentage of this population, it is important to increase access to information about veteran drug rehab in Florida. There are several routes to rehab for veterans living in Florida. Help is available if you or a loved one need it.
How to Find Veteran Rehab in Florida
Finding a drug rehab for veterans in Florida may seem like a daunting task. There are more than 700 facilities offering substance use treatment services in the state of Florida, according to a 2020 report by the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).4
On March 31, 2020, SAMHSA took a single-day count of 45,620 individuals enrolled in substance use treatment services in Florida. This was down slightly from previous years, but 2020 had its fair share of restrictions and closures due to COVID-19. On the same day in 2019, for instance, there were 57,335 individuals enrolled.4 Furthermore, in 2019, 134 programs statewide offered mental health and substance use treatment programs specifically for veterans.5 With so many options, how does a veteran decipher which program is best suited for them and their needs?
According to 2019 data from SAMHSA, treatment facilities pepper the state.5 However, not all facilities specialize in rehab services for veterans. You can check with your local Veterans Affairs (VA) office or SAMHSA, both of which may be able to provide resources for veteran-specific treatment options near you. Additionally, The American Addiction Centers (AAC) locations in Florida—Recovery First Treatment Center and River Oaks Treatment Center—offer specialized programs for veterans.
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Does the VA Cover Rehab Treatment in Florida?
Rehab for veterans in Florida may be covered by VA benefits in some cases, but the VA generally must approve your care before you start treatment for it to be covered.6 This determination is typically made by VA staff and eligibility is based on your care, needs, and circumstances.6
The length of stay and type of care provided—such as inpatient, outpatient, or hospital detoxification services—all factor into determining what VA benefits cover.7 If you have a primary care provider through your local VA hospital, they can refer you directly to substance use treatment that is in-network with your VA benefits.7 If you do not, you can still contact the VA directly for referral information.7
How Do I Choose the Best Veteran Rehab in Florida?
You want to find the best option to fit your needs. Call the facilities you’re considering and ask questions, including:
- Licenses and accreditations. A state licensed and accredited program operates according to the state’s health and safety standards.
- Treatment models used. Rehab centers offer a variety of treatment types, including inpatient treatment, outpatient services, therapies, and counseling. Consult a doctor, therapist, or intake counselor to find the best option for your needs.
- Program length. Program lengths vary. Explore your options and talk with a doctor, therapist, or other healthcare professional to help you make the right choice for your treatment needs.
- Payment options. Ask if the treatment center accepts your health insurance and speak to the facility’s insurance specialist to understand what your plan includes. In addition, ask about other ways to pay.
- Specialized programs for veterans. Beyond the core components of evidence-based addiction treatment, which may include detox, counseling, education, pharmacological therapy, and more, inquire about other programming. For instance, some centers offer veteran-specific services, 12-step groups, nutritional counseling, recreational activities, exercise programs, faith-based groups, meditation, gender-specific programming, LGBTQ support, and more.
- Co-occurring treatments. Even if you’re not aware of a mental health condition, the program should screen for common mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Co-occurring disorder treatment programs take an integrated approach to treat the substance use issue and mental health condition simultaneously.
- Aftercare support. Recovery is an ongoing journey and doesn’t stop after you’ve graduated from the treatment program. Ask about aftercare services, like ongoing counseling, mutual help groups, job placement assistance, and sober living homes.
- Explore rehab reviews.
Florida Rehab Costs for Veterans
The cost of Florida rehabs for veterans varies based on several factors, including the length of treatment, the services rendered, the location of the facility, and additional amenities.
Do Other Insurance Providers Cover the Cost of Rehab?
If you decide to pursue substance use treatment outside of the VA hospital system, there are treatment centers that accept federal military insurance. In Florida, 293 treatment facilities accept veterans’ or other military insurance benefits.4 Additionally, 309 facilities accept Medicaid, 221 accept Medicare, and 542 accept private health insurance plans.4 Regardless of your insurance coverage, there are numerous options for veterans. For instance, American Addiction Centers’ River Oaks facility is in-network with TRICARE, the VA’s medical insurance benefit for veterans.
Furthermore, there are several facilities in Florida that offer treatment services and programs for individuals without insurance. According to SAMHSA, 244 facilities in Florida offer treatment at no charge or minimal charge to uninsured individuals or those who cannot afford to pay.4 If you are one of those who has lost coverage, or are uninsured, you do not have to forego substance use treatment due to an inability to pay out-of-pocket. In conjunction with VA benefits, there are state-funded programs that can help you on your journey to recovery.
Types of Substance Abuse Treatments and Therapies for Veterans
The type of treatment an individual receives depends on the severity of the addiction and any co-occurring mental or physical health conditions. Effective treatment means every veteran gets an individualized treatment plan, which may include:8
Detoxification. Medically managed detox helps the veteran rid their body of the substance while also helping them overcome the symptoms of withdrawal with interventions from medical staff to reduce discomfort and keep the individual safe.
Inpatient treatment. Residential rehab provides live-in solutions where veterans receive supervised treatment that may include individual and group therapy, psychiatric care, education, and potentially, medication. This is all to reduce the risk of relapse by helping them resolve the issues that lead to the substance misuse and help them develop coping strategies, too.
Outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment and intensive outpatient programs allow veterans to receive structured treatment—which looks identical to inpatient services—during specific, clinic-based appointments. However, these veterans return to their jobs, families, or outside responsibilities rather than stay at the facility.
Behavioral therapy. Addiction treatment commonly consists of a combination of group and individual therapy to help veterans reduce or eliminate their substance use. These therapy sessions aim to help people change the behavior that led them to use substances. Some of the evidence-based behavioral approaches used for veterans include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT helps veterans restructure their thoughts and feelings related to substance abuse. It encourages them to question and examine recurring thoughts to phase out those that are negative or unhealthy. CBT can help veterans develop coping skills, identify risky situations, navigate through them, and prevent relapse. CBT is also effective in the treatment of co-occurring mental and physical health disorders, too.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT teaches veterans how to regulate their emotions to reduce self-destructive behaviors that stem from intense emotions. It helps them reduce cravings, prevent relapse, and learn healthy coping skills.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR helps veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that results in symptoms and distress. By having the veterans discuss the past trauma while simultaneously engaging other parts of the brain—through bilateral eye movements, taps, or tones—EMDR helps heal the brain’s information processing system and promotes emotional stability and symptom reduction.
If you or a loved one are a veteran seeking substance abuse treatment in Florida, you are not alone. Contact one of the American Addiction Centers’ treatment advisors today to get more information. They can check your insurance benefits and help you find a treatment option that is right for you.
Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment for Veterans
Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
Statistics and Facts on Veteran Addiction in Florida
It’s already been stated that Florida has the third-largest veteran population in the United States, trailing only behind California and Texas. The statistics surrounding this population include the following facts: 3, 9-13
- There are more than 1.5 million veterans in the state of Florida.
- As of January 2020, 2,436 veterans in Florida were homeless. In one study, 95% of the homeless veterans in Florida reported problems with addiction and/or mental health issues.
- There are 188,024 Gulf War veterans and 177,494 Post-9/11 veterans in Florida. Research indicates that 13.5% of Iraq and Afghanistan deployed and non-deployed veterans screened positive for (PTSD).
- War veterans with PTSD and substance use problems tend to binge drink. Binge drinking is defined as having 4-5 drinks or more over a short period of time (1-2 hours).
- As of February 2021, Florida has 31 active veterans courts to assist justice-involved defendants with the complex treatment needs associated with substance misuse treatment, mental health issues, and other traumatic experiences of war.
Does Florida Have Special Addiction Laws and Programs for Veterans?
Florida passed a bill, HB 807, designed to curb corruption in sober living facilities and rehab treatment centers. This bill:14
- Increases the penalties for those operating without a license.
- Requires those applying for licensure to provide additional information.
- Requires accreditation for certain licenses to be issued.
- Requires the department to conduct background screening on key participants.
Florida also passed the Marchman Act in 1993, which allows family members to petition the court for the mandatory assessment and treatment of an individual who is abusing drugs or alcohol.15 It can be used in limited circumstances for the emergency involuntary commitment of an individual who has become a danger to themselves or others due to substance use.15
Additionally, Florida’s 911 Good Samaritan Act allows individuals to obtain help for a drug overdose without the risk of being charged, prosecuted, or penalized. This statute gives people immunity from being prosecuted for possession, for instance, if someone seeks medical attention on their behalf if they are suffering a drug overdose.16
Other Resources for Veterans in Florida
Every individual’s journey to recovery from substance misuse looks different. While some may head directly to a treatment facility, others might turn to other resources to help them stop misusing drugs and alcohol. Typically, people need a combination of approaches and resources to ensure a successful recovery. These resources might include:
- American Addiction Centers’ Florida Addiction Helpline.
- Hope for Healing Florida helps veterans (and others) navigate the many ways individuals can access mental health and substance misuse help in Florida.
- Florida Department of Children and Families, where individuals can get information on treatment, prevention, and crisis services for mental health and substance misuse help.
- Alcoholics Anonymous, where individuals can find meetings in their area in Florida.
- Narcotics Anonymous, where individuals can find meetings near them.
- Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education, a nonprofit organization in Pinellas County that works to prevent overdose deaths through education, support, and advocacy.