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Drug and Alcohol Rehab for First Responders

 / First Responders

The daily lives of paramedics, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other emergency responders are fraught with danger and stress. These brave community members face difficult situations daily, and the emotional toll can be severe in some circumstances. Unfortunately, those with poor mental health are more likely to resort to substances like alcohol and narcotics to mask their pain while on the job.


But what happens when the selfless giver finally needs some tender loving care? We'd love to tell you more about the First Responders Program at Rolling Hills Recovery Center and how it tailors drug and alcohol rehab services to the unique needs of first responders in New Jersey and around the country.

To What Extent Do First Responders Struggle With Drug Misuse and Addiction?

A wide variety of persons may be first responders, including:


  • Police officers.

  • Paramedics.

  • Providers of Emergency Medical Services ( such as EMTs).

  • Firefighters.

  • Guards in penal institutions.

  • Members of the Armed Forces on active duty.


Many people in these occupations support others battling alcohol and substance use disorders, yet they have a greater rate of drug use than the general public.


Compared to the general population, police personnel is statistically less likely to use illegal drugs. They are, nevertheless, more vulnerable to alcoholism. Alcoholism and other risky behaviors are pervasive among police officers. One survey found that 16% of female and 11% of male police officers engage in binge drinking.


The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 29% of American firefighters struggle with alcohol abuse, and 10% are taking prescription medications at any moment. Another study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse & Alcoholism reported similarly high rates of binge drinking and possible alcohol use disorders among firefighters.


The situation is much direr for those working in emergency medical services. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, over 40% of EMTs fit the criteria for alcohol dependence.

Generally, any first responder has an increased risk of problematic drinking, about 7% more than the general population's risk. As a result, there is a greater need for an increased effort to help these individuals access rehabilitation programs and other medical treatments they desperately need.

Rolling Hills Recovery Center First Responder Helpline

Anytime, day or night, you may call us at Rolling Hills Recovery Center at 855-559-8550. We'll work with you to find the best treatment plan.


Medically Reviewed:


Rolling Hills Recovery Center

Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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To What Extent Do First Responders Struggle With Drug Misuse and Addiction?

What Makes First Responders Unique in Their Need for Rehabilitation Services?

What Makes First Responders Unique in Their Need for Rehabilitation Services?

A first responder often faces a second set of hurdles to treatment unique to their profession and the general obstacles that individuals battling with addiction experience.


Obstacles that stand in the way of first responders receiving treatment include:


  • They have difficulty asking for (or showing they need) help from others.

  • They fear or carry the guilt of breaking public trust.

  • Stigma and discrimination towards those who struggle with drug and alcohol use disorders.

  • They fear being fired or letting down superiors at work.


At a rehab facility, a first responder battling addiction has access to comprehensive treatment services administered by professionals who understand the consequences of their high-stress jobs and trauma.

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Addiction Treatment For First Responders

Addiction Treatment For First Responders

The professionals at Rolling Hills Recovery Center specializing in addiction treatment are experts at providing first responders and other people battling substance abuse problems with various warm and compassionate options to get help.


An effective addiction treatment program for first responders will likely include the following strategies or methodologies.



Detox, short for "detoxification," involves the medical or physiological elimination of harmful chemicals from the body. In most cases, detox comes first in a series of rehabilitation steps. Why? Because after you've successfully detoxified your body from all traces of addictive drugs, can you focus on building the skills necessary to remain sober?


First responders may benefit from a wide variety of therapeutic therapies once they have completed detox. These treatments may take many shapes and forms, such as:

Individualized Therapy

Individualized Therapy

When most people think of therapy, they picture individual therapy, which involves counseling sessions between a qualified professional and a client. 


Individual psychotherapy, sometimes known as talk therapy, has been effectively employed for many decades to assist people in coping with challenging feelings such as grief, anger, and sadness, which are often the primary driving forces behind substance and alcohol abuse.

Group Therapy

Group Therapy

Counseling sessions within group therapy entail placing a client in the company of others going through the same challenges. It's a great way to meet others in similar situations and get insight into their management. It can also assist in rebuilding communication skills that were neglected while still actively using drugs.


The community we've developed here at Rolling Hills Recovery Center will be a welcoming change for you if you've ever felt out of place in a group therapy session due to your job as a first responder.

Family Therapy

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a kind of psychotherapy in which immediate members of a patient's family take part in the treatment process. This allows the patient's loved ones to provide the emotional and logistical support essential to a successful recovery.


Without the help of loved ones, quitting drugs and managing the withdrawal symptoms that follow is far more challenging, and the outcomes may be less satisfactory.


At Rolling Hills Recovery Center, we provide the clients of our first responder drug treatment program and their loved ones with the resources they need to continue on the path to sobriety after they return home. During treatment, we also work on repairing any strained relationships that may have developed among family members due to addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Rolling Hills Recovery Center offers free 24/7 addiction support for first responders. Call today and confidentially speak with our addiction specialists a855-559-8550.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy sessions and a first responder with addiction is to teach the person to identify and alter destructive patterns of thinking and behavior that fuel substance use.


CBT can aid in the development of healthy coping mechanisms, the recognition of high-risk settings, and the application of such techniques to avoid relapse.


Adapted cognitive behavioral therapy may treat various mental health conditions that often co-occur with substance abuse, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

The word "dialectical" stems from the belief that combining two seemingly contradictory tenets of therapeutic interventions: acceptance and change—leads to more positive outcomes than either one used alone.


Dialectical behavioral therapy aims to help patients recognize and alter dysfunctional thinking while encouraging them to adopt more positive behaviors.


DBT differs from other therapies in that it emphasizes accepting the patient's experience and working to alter undesirable habits.


Like CBT, dialectical-behavior therapy may be modified to suit a variety of drug misuse contexts. For example, meeting with a therapist trained in dialectical behavior therapy may help an alcoholic or drug addict learn to control their urges, build suitable coping mechanisms, and steer clear of potentially dangerous circumstances.

Peer Support Groups

Peer Support Groups

Most first responders resort to drugs or alcohol because of unique experiences and difficulties others do not face. In addition, as part of their job, first responders are often exposed to horrific scenes, including bloodshed and the bodies of the deceased. Therefore, this setting is expected to be mentally and emotionally exhausting.


Peer support organizations like NA and AA may be invaluable when recovering from substance abuse. They provide addicts a place to share their experiences with and learn from others who share their commitment to recovery.


It's more likely that people in a peer support group can assist one another if they battle addictions rooted in everyday experiences. First responders' peer support groups provide more than simply a place to learn about and discuss substance abuse; they also offer an accepting environment in which members may speak freely about the stresses of daily life that may have led to the onset of drug and alcohol abuse.

Is The First Responders' Addiction Treatment Program Within My Budget?

Is The First Responders' Addiction Treatment Program Within My Budget?

The government provides insurance coverage to both serving and ex-army members. These individuals can also have private insurance that can come in handy to treat addictions and other mental health conditions.


Most first responders will have minimal to no out-of-pocket expenses related to their addiction treatment and support. Our highly competent admissions team works with various health insurance plans that cover first responders.


Additionally, the following programs and organizations have always stepped in to help those who would not otherwise be able to receive treatment due to financial restraints:


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Rolling Hills Recovery Centers and First Responders

Rolling Hills Recovery Centers and First Responders

Nearly a third of all first responders will struggle with mental health issues at some point in their lives. Substance abuse problems may develop in response to high-stress circumstances, mental health concerns, and trauma that these people face. Therefore, first responders must have access to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program tailored to their unique needs. Our first responder drug treatment program at Rolling Hills Recovery Center is tailored to the special requirements of this group.


Contact us immediately to learn more about the drug rehabilitation services we provide to first responders and the general public.

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