RAO Davao City

United States Military Retiree Activities Office Davao City, Philippines

PTSD UPDATE August 15, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on August 14th, 2008

In response to the growing number of veterans denied the mental health treatment needed to address their post traumatic stress who end up in legal trouble after self-medicating to suppress their anxieties, Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)on 1 AUG introduced the Services, Education, and Rehabilitation for Veterans (SERV) Act to create veteran drug treatment courts to support veterans combat the cycle of alcohol or drug addiction. A similar program is operational in Buffalo, NY and has already seen great success. The SERV Act would authorize funds to go to the Office of National Drug Control Policy for the development and implementation of veteran’s treatment courts or to enhance operational drug courts to serve veterans.

The grants would be administered by the Department of Justice in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs. To be eligible for funding the veteran’s treatment court or drug court serving veterans must effectively integrate substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, mandatory drug testing, sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in a judicially supervised court setting with jurisdiction over nonviolent, substance-abusing offenders that have served in the United States military. Also included is the authorization for the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI). The NDCI is a bipartisan supported organization that conducts national, comprehensive training programs for State and local communities for the purpose of improving the professional skills of drug court practitioners and enhancing the ability of State and local communities to expand drug courts to reach all addicted citizens in need

“These treatment courts will address the specific challenges with drugs and alcohol too many veterans face when returning home from their honorable service overseas,” said Senator John Kerry. “For those who have given so much for our country, we should address the serious issues of drug and alcohol addiction in an appropriate forum that recognizes that some veterans fall victim to substance abuse as a way to handle post-traumatic stress. It’s well past time we offered our veterans services worthy of their sacrifice.” Sen. Murkowski said, “Some of the brave men and women who have served our country fall victim to alcohol and drug addiction and end up in our criminal justice system. Drug courts are an effective way to break this cycle of abuse and help these veterans re-enter society. The Alaska Court System already has successful drug courts in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Bethel, Juneau and Ketchikan, and there is a Veterans Court in Anchorage. This bill would provide additional funding for some of Alaska’s existing therapeutic court programs and would allow more nonviolent-offender programs to be developed across the state. The SERV Act is particularly important for Alaska, which has one of the highest veterans’ per capita rates in the nation.” [Source: Military.com AP article 1 Aug 08 ++]

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