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Substance Use Disorders (SUD)


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 79,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States. This makes excessive alcohol use the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation. In the single year 2005, there were over 1.6 million hospitalizations and over 4 million emergency room visits for alcohol-related conditions. (Quick Stats)

According to the Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings, DHSS SAMHSA, in 2009, an estimated 21.8 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 8.7 percent of the population aged 12 or older. Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used nonmedically. The 2009 rate (8.7 percent) was higher than the rate in 2008 (8.0 percent). Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drugs.

In September 2001, the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) released a clinical practice guideline entitled VA/DoD Management of Substance Use Disorders in Primary and Specialty Care Clinical Practice Guideline. It was designed to assist clinicians evaluate and manage adult patients with Substance Use Disorders (SUD). In 2009, the guideline was revised: VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Substance Use Disorders (SUD), Aug 09. The guideline consists of five modules:

  • Algorithm A - Screening and Initial Assessment for Substance Use Disorder
  • Algorithm B - Management of SUD in Specialty SUD Care
  • Algorithm C - Management of SUD in (Primary) General Healthcare
  • Algorithm P - Addiction-Focused Pharmacotherapy
  • Algorithm S - Stabilization and Withdrawal Management

This Web page was developed to provide clinical guidance, policies and directives, fact sheets, training material, and related links to assist healthcare providers and Service members and their families.

Table of Contents

Clinical Guidance

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Policies and Directives

 DoD / Joint Forces  Army  Air Force  Navy/Marines  Coast Guard  VA (Department of Veterans Affairs)

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Implementation Guidelines

Implementation Tools

  • VA/DoD SUD CPG Tool Kit
    • Provider Guide
      • Substance Use Disorder Pocket Guide, 2011 (Derived from the VA/DoD SUD CPG Aug 09 to provide medical and psychological health providers with a quick reference tool for treating patients with SUD. It was developed by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) in collaboration with the VA/DoD.)

    • Tool Kit Content and Ordering Information (Contents include: provider pocket guide, patient booklet on medication-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence, and brochure for family members about substance use disorders and support-focused resources)

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Other Related Information

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Education and Training

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    Related Links

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