What Police Officers Need in Addiction Treatment

Police officers rank highest in terms of substance abuse rates. Estimates reveal perhaps a quarter of all police officers may suffer from substance abuse disorder. It is not a surprise given the prevalence in the general population but also high-stress careers. Learn more about why police officers need addiction treatment and how to support a loved one through addiction.

Why it Happens

Coping with daily stress on the job can make some police officers turn towards substance abuse. Some law enforcement officials may also find addiction to illicit drugs happen following undercover work. The best way to overcome addiction is to enter treatment. Successful addiction treatment should include the following:

  • Intervention services
  • Peer-to-peer group counseling
  • Occupational stress management
  • Addiction education
  • Workplace re-entry plans
  • Strong follow-up care

Addiction Treatment

In spite of law enforcement officer addiction factors being variable, police officer drug addiction treatment is usually the same for the general public. Steps a police officer may take during drug addiction treatment are the same with some variables including:

Evaluation and Assessment

Police officers with addiction undergo evaluation and drug tests prior to entering addiction treatment. Initial assessments used to determine severity of addiction include looking at best course of treatment. Mental health disorders will also be assessed and diagnosed.


Police officers with addiction who go through evaluation and testing before treatment are assessed prior to entry and then watched after during withdrawal. It can be uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous. Typically detox is the first step to moving forward. Medical professionals may monitor people with addiction in recovery to help the process become more comfortable and care for people in the event of an emergency.


Drug addiction treatment needs a multifaceted approach for success. During treatment, police officers usually go through individual behavior therapy, group therapy and family therapy. This can help with treatment of underlying mental health disorders as wel.


An important part of police officer drug addiction treatment is aftercare. Many police officers in recovery from addiction need ongoing counseling and therapy. Police forces are willing to allow police to come back to work once addiction treatment is completed. A re-entry program is usually best for police officers recovering. Light duty is recommended along with continued psychological monitoring and routine drug and alcohol testing.

Some barriers exist to treatment of officers with addiction which may include a need for coping, stigma around addiction, fear of a career ending, feeling out of place or financial challenges. This all makes it challenging to find a person treatment options. It is possible to support police officers and is necessary to keeping them working on the beat in good health and healthy.


The Villa helps individuals who are struggling with addiction. Call us if you are finding it challenging to overcome addiction or mental health disorders. We are here to support your individual needs.