Back to Top Skip to main content

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive substance seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to abuse substances is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge a person's self control and ability to resist intense impulses urging him or her to use substances.

Learn More About Addiction »


There are a myriad of substances which can be abused or misused, all of which have dangerous health implications. While many drugs are illegal, some legal substances can be bad for you in large quantities or if taken incorrectly.

Learn More About Substances »


Scientific research has shown that treatment can help drug-addicted individuals stop drug use, avoid relapse and successfully recover their lives. Based on this research, 13 fundamental principles that characterize effective drug abuse treatment have been developed.

Learn More About Treatments »

Getting Help

Friends and family may be among the first to recognize the signs of substance abuse. Early recognition increases chances for successful treatment. Many treatment options and informational resources are available for members of the military community.

Learn More About Getting Help »

You also may be interested in...

Celebrate good times! No luck, charms or alcohol required

Marine Cpl. Edward Blodgett, wears a leprechaun hat at a regimental run in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day at Camp Pendleton, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Khoa Pelczar)

Unless you’ve been hiding under the Blarney Stone, you’ve seen the shamrocks — St. Patrick’s Day is upon us

Recommended Content:

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Traumatic Brain Injury | Substance Abuse

New year, new medicine cabinet

The Military Health System has a drug take back program to help service members and their families dispose of their medications safely. The Department of Justice also has a national take-back initiative. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Valerie Monroy)

Many of our medicine cabinets have bottles of prescribed and over-the-counter medications that are expired or that we no longer use

Recommended Content:

Drug Take Back Program | Substance Abuse

To drink or not to drink: Have a plan

USS John C. Stennis' crew and family members dance during a command holiday party. For someone concerned about alcohol intake or battling substance abuse, social events may seem threatening. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang)

For someone concerned about alcohol intake or battling substance abuse, social events may seem threatening

Recommended Content:

Substance Abuse | Integrative Wellness

Military Drug Take Back Program offers safe drug disposal

Excess prescription and over-the-counter drugs can pose a serious risk in your home. The Military Health System is helping the military community fight back against the dangers of unneeded, unused and expired drugs by offering Drug Take Back at U.S. military pharmacies. Most pharmacies have fixed containers in place where you can drop off excess drugs. Airman 1st Class Hannah McDonald, 1st Special Operations Medical Squadron pharmacy apprentice, disposes of an unwanted prescription in to a container in the pharmacy lobby on Hurlburt Field, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kai White)

The Military Health System is helping the military community fight back against the dangers of unneeded, unused and expired drugs

Recommended Content:

Drug Take Back Program | Substance Abuse

Navy developing mobile app to help prevent prescription medication misuse

Naval Health Research Center Logo

The app is intended to support patients where they do not have immediate access to their health care providers but have questions about appropriate use of their prescription medication

Recommended Content:

Technology | Substance Abuse

Stimulants – Give your heart a break

Stimulants such as caffeine, yohimbine, and synephrine can cause increased or irregular heart rate. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration)

There are different stimulants used as ingredients in dietary supplements, and often products come with a warning

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Human Performance Resource Center | Substance Abuse

DoD Instruction 1010.04: Problematic Substance Use by DoD Personnel


Establishes policies, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for problematic alcohol and drug use prevention, identification, diagnosis, and treatment for DoD military and civilian personnel.

  • Identification #: DoD Instruction 1010.04
  • Date: 2/20/2014
  • Type: Instructions
  • Topics: Substance Abuse
<< < 1 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 7 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.