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The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) program is continuing services to Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) as the Commonwealth begins reopening after the COVID-19 shutdowns. We are serving our SMVF population as before but with certain protocols in place to ensure the safety of our staff, clients and community partners. Our Regional offices will be opening at different times across the state but we are continuing to support the needs of eligible individuals by phone/email until all offices have re-opened.

Our staff will be serving the needs of our veterans and their family members by appointment only.  As we re-open offices, we are ensuring all social distancing protocols are in place for the safety of our staff and service members and veteran families.  If as a veteran, you or your family has a need which requires a face-to-face meeting In an urgent or emergency situation, please advise when you speak with the Regional Director or Resource Specialist at the time of initial contact. To determine whether your local office is open, please contact 1-877-285-1299 and your call will be routed to the appropriate region for assistance. Please be sure to state your name, a return phone number, and your location clearly.

 

Substance Abuse

SubstanceAbuse

Substance is a concern for many veterans. In 2008 Department of Defense Health Behavior Survey reveals general reductions over time in tobacco use and illicit drug use, it reported increases in other areas, such as prescription drug abuse and heavy alcohol use. In fact, prescription drug abuse doubled among U.S. military personnel from 2002 to 2005 and almost tripled between 2005 and 2008.

Alcohol abuse is the most prevalent problem, which poses a significant health risk. A study of Army soldiers screened 3 to 4 months after returning from deployment to Iraq showed that 27 percent met criteria for alcohol abuse and were at increased risk for related harmful behaviors (e.g., drinking and driving, using illicit drugs). And although soldiers frequently report alcohol concerns, few are referred to alcohol treatment.

Research findings highlight the need to improve screening and access to care for alcohol-related problems among service members returning from combat deployments.

Mental illness among military personnel is also a major concern. In another study of returning soldiers, clinicians identified 20 percent of active and 42 percent of reserve component soldiers as requiring mental health treatment.

Drug or alcohol use frequently accompanies mental health problems and was involved in 30 percent of the Army’s suicide deaths from 2003 to 2009 and in more than 45 percent of non-fatal suicide attempts from 2005 to 2009.

Source: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/topics-in-brief/substance-abuse-among-military-veterans-their-families

Prevention Resources

Support Recovery

Resources