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On the Job and on Drugs: Police Officers Who Struggle with Addiction

Police officers face a unique stigma that makes it even more challenging for them to seek help when they are struggling with opioid use disorder and other drug addictions. Michael Genovese, M.D., J.D., chief medical officer for Acadia Healthcare, shared his clinical expertise with The Fix on why members of law enforcement are more susceptible to addiction than the civilian population, including what on-the-job risk factors can drive police officers to develop a substance use disorder. Several police officers supported his medical perspective by sharing stories about their struggles with opioid addiction during their law enforcement careers. It is crucial to remember that members of law enforcement are individuals who need to process trauma, stress, and anxiety just like members of the general population. Although many police officers might seem like they always have everything under control, addiction can affect anyone, no matter what they do for a living.

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