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Veteran Drug Rehab in Massachusetts

African American upset guy and female psychologist during therapy in Massachusetts

Published: June 20, 2023

Veterans across the nation experience substance use disorders. The trauma and stress associated with military service can cause mental health issues and raise the risk of addiction.

Fortunately, veterans living in Massachusetts who are looking for drug or alcohol rehab have many options, including some that are covered by TRICARE or VA health insurance benefits.

If you or a loved one is a veteran in need of addiction treatment in Massachusetts, you have options. Rehab can be inpatient or outpatient, and should include evidence-based treatment practices.

Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Veterans

Veterans and military service members are disproportionately affected by drug and alcohol use issues. Mental health concerns, stress, trauma, and other risk factors may contribute to alcohol and drug abuse in veterans.

Some statistics that highlight how veterans are affected by alcohol and drug addiction:

  • More than 10% of veteran admissions to alcohol and drug rehab centers in 2019 were for heroin use.
  • More than two-thirds of veterans report experiencing pain, increasing their risk of opioid addiction.
  • Four out of every five veterans with a substance use disorder are addicted to alcohol.
  • Over 12% of veterans reported using marijuana within the last year in 2019.
  • About 595,000 veterans, or about 3% of the population, struggled with opioid misuse at some point in 2019.
  • Around 54,000 veterans reported using heroin within the last year in 2019.

Scope Of Veterans In Massachusetts

There are more than 380,000 veterans living in Massachusetts. Of those, only 5.6% are female. And 4.7% of the veterans in Massachusetts are unemployed, compared with 5.3% on a national level.

There are over 1,200 homeless veterans living in Massachusetts. Over 50% of the veterans in the state are 65 years of age or older.

There are 28 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities in Massachusetts. Around 25% of Massachusetts veterans use VA health care.

Veteran Risk Factors For Substance Abuse

People who have served in the military use substances at a rate that is higher than that of the general population.

A number of factors contribute to substance abuse among veterans, including stress during and after employment, trauma, and more.

Risk factors for veterans that contribute to substance abuse include:

  • Physical injuries and psychological trauma from time in service
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Dual diagnosis mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety disorders
  • Isolation and difficulty connecting with others after deployment
  • Low employment rates and difficulty finding work
  • Disabilities and associated pain and distress
  • Chronic pain
  • Homelessness

Addiction Treatment Programs For Veterans In Massachusetts

There are a variety of treatment facilities that can help veterans who are looking to overcome substance abuse problems.

Addiction treatment centers that offer drug and alcohol treatment might use methods like therapy, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and support groups.

Some treatment centers even offer specialized programs that are specifically designed for veterans in recovery.

You may find the following programs/services in veterans’ substance abuse treatment:

  • Medical detox
  • Long- and short-term residential treatment programs
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Case management
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • 12-step programs

Mental Health & Dual Diagnosis Programs For Massachusetts Vets

Veterans that live with substance abuse issues often have mental or behavioral health issues that occur alongside their addiction.

When someone has both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, this is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

Common disorders seen alongside substance abuse in veterans include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Panic disorders
  • PTSD
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Treatment programs for people with co-occurring disorders are specially designed to tackle each disorder but also to treat the individual with an understanding that the disorders feed into one another.

Medications, talk therapy, group therapy, and holistic therapies can all help address mental illness and substance abuse.

Where Can You Find Veterans Rehab Programs In Massachusetts?

If you are looking for substance abuse treatment for veterans in Massachusetts, you need to know where to find the best rehab programs.

You can usually find veterans rehab programs at VA medical centers or within major hospitals. Whether you live in Boston, Bedford, Brockton, or anywhere else in the state, veterans substance abuse treatment shouldn’t be too far away.

Use these resources to find rehab programs in Massachusetts for veterans:

  • SAMHSA — SAMHSA stands for The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Their website offers an extensive database of credible substance abuse treatment centers, including listings for each state.
  • U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs — The VA website offers a state-by-state list of rehab facilities that have specialized veterans programs through the VA healthcare system.

Qualities To Look For In Massachusetts Veterans Rehab Programs

All substance abuse rehab programs are not created equally. To find the best programs, you need to know what to look for and what to avoid.

Some veterans might want to attend a program that is specifically set up for retired military personnel. Others might simply want to find the best alcohol or drug rehab program they can access close to home.

Look for these signs of a quality, trustworthy rehab center:

  • Accreditations through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or the Joint Commission
  • Certifications and professional memberships
  • Evidence-based treatment practices
  • High staff-to-patient ratios
  • Specialized veterans programs
  • Positive client testimonials or high Google rating
  • High success/low relapse rates

Health Insurance Coverage For Massachusetts Veterans Drug Rehab

If you or a loved one is a retired military service member in search of substance abuse treatment, there are options to fit your budget.

Veterans have some special insurance plans available to them, including TRICARE and VA, which can help to cover substance abuse treatment.

Alternatively, private insurance plans or state Medicaid or Medicare plans can help pay for rehab.


TRICARE is a low-cost health insurance plan that is available to active-duty military members and veterans.

Depending on your financial situation, how long you served, and other details, your coverage amount can vary. If you have TRICARE, you should be able to find rehab programs that accept your healthcare.

VA Health Benefits

Health benefits provided through VA can help to pay for most or even all the costs of a substance abuse treatment program. Both inpatient and outpatient programs can be covered by VA health benefits.

VA benefits also vary and your coverage amounts may be different from costs for other veterans, so you should double-check to ensure that your rehab program will be covered.

Private Insurance Plans

Nearly all substance abuse treatment centers accept a variety of private insurance plans. Treatment centers in Massachusetts that do not accept VA or TRICARE insurance might accept private insurance.

Massachusetts health insurance plans that may pay for substance abuse treatment:

  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Tufts
  • Fallon Community Health Plan
  • Harvard Pilgrim
  • Cigna
  • Connecticare

Barriers To Addiction Recovery For Massachusetts Veterans

In Massachusetts and across the U.S., veterans face unique challenges that may prevent them from seeking or receiving adequate addiction recovery services.

Waitlists for veterans’ treatment programs, lack of adequate funding for these programs, stigma around seeking mental health treatment, and lack of funding for programs might present barriers to treatment for veterans.

Fortunately, veterans in Massachusetts have access to resources that can help remove these barriers and get them the treatment they need.

Resources For Massachusetts Veterans

There are several organizations that are set up to help veterans in need in Massachusetts. Veterans who need housing support, health insurance, financial services, employment opportunities, or mental healthcare can seek help at one of the following organizations.

The top resources for veterans in Massachusetts are:

  • Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) — The DVS has a mission statement of acting as the primary advocate for Massachusetts veterans. They offer support services including an emergency financial assistance program for veterans and their families.
  • Harvard Law School Veterans Law Unit — The Veterans Law Unit can provide veterans or their family members in Massachusetts with legal representation when they cannot afford a lawyer.
  • Local Veterans Service Officers — There are veterans service officers (VSOs) located in every town and city in Massachusetts. Your local VSO can help you seek employment, get benefits, or connect you with other resources.
  • Veterans Employment Representatives — Veterans Employment Representatives (VERs) are employees who work at MassHire Career Centers. Their job is to help veterans find careers and employment.
  • Veterans Crisis Line — The Veterans Crisis Line is a phone number you can call to connect with a real person 24/7, 365 days out of the year. The line is set up to assist veterans and their friends and family during times of crisis.

Find Massachusetts Veterans Substance Abuse Treatment

If you or a loved one is looking for substance abuse treatment options in Massachusetts, there are resources available that can make it easier to find treatment.

Call our helpline today if you are ready to get started on your recovery journey. Our specialists can help you find the best treatment center near you to match your needs.

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