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Veteran Drug Rehab in Pennsylvania

Close-up of psychologist writing down notes while talking to her patient in Pennsylvania rehab center

Published: July 24, 2023

The state of Pennsylvania has many men and women who are veterans. For veterans battling substance abuse, there is help through various treatment services.

Many times when veterans leave active duty, they need help coping with civilian life or managing pain, and turn to drugs and alcohol as a result

Programs are available for veterans that include medical detox, intensive outpatient treatment, residential care, short-term outpatient treatment, aftercare, and relapse prevention. Special programs geared specifically toward veterans are also available.

Veterans’ health care benefits are often accepted at rehab centers. Private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare are some options for payment.

Whether you’re in Pittsburgh, Coatesville, Philadelphia, or elsewhere in the state, resources are available to help you recover.

Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Veterans

Many veterans and military service members face psychological trauma and injuries during active duty.

These problems can lead to drug or alcohol abuse and put veterans at risk for issues such as addiction to opioids and other drugs and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others.

Chronic pain, homelessness, and mental health problems can result in substance abuse, lend to co-occurring disorders, and are often common in veterans.

Deployment, combat, and readjustment to civilian life are some of the challenges that military personnel face. These situations can cause mental health issues and have been associated with substance use disorders.

Some facts for substance abuse among veterans include:

  • One in 10 veterans in Pennsylvania has been diagnosed with some type of substance use disorder.
  • Many veterans have problems with the use of alcohol, tobacco, street drugs, and prescription drugs.
  • Binge drinking is one of the more common issues among veterans.
  • More than 80% of veterans abuse alcohol.
  • Close to 30% of veterans abuse illegal drugs.
  • Around 7% of veterans abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Female veterans are twice as likely to develop PTSD.

Scope Of Veterans In Pennsylvania

Even though the amount of veterans that are homeless has declined throughout the U.S., Pennsylvania has not eliminated homeless veterans. Homelessness is a risk factor for addiction.

Other facts on veterans in Pennsylvania:

  • The state of Pennsylvania has more than 800,000 veterans, according to the U.S., Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
  • Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veteran population in the country with 76 percent of their vets over the age of 55.
  • Around 60,000 of the veterans in Pennsylvania are women.
  • Nearly 130,000 veterans in Pennsylvania receive disability benefits.

Veteran Risk Factors For Substance Abuse

Military members face many situations that can have a lasting effect on their health and mental well-being. Many of them become dependent on painkillers or turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with life’s stressors.

War, deployment, injuries, and stress can be factors that contribute to substance abuse in veterans and military service members. Many vets do not get the help they need.

Veteran risk factors for substance abuse include:

  • Homelessness
  • Chronic pain
  • Problem finding employment
  • Mental health issues
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Injuries that result from deployment or war
  • Family problems
  • Health coverage or affording healthcare

Addiction Treatment Programs For Veterans In Pennsylvania

There are many types of addiction treatment programs for veterans in Pennsylvania. They may be found at private rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and VA medical centers. Most facilities will offer an evaluation to help determine what levels of care are appropriate.

Some programs are day programs, while others involve short- or long-term stays. For veterans with severe addictions or dependencies, detoxification (ridding the body of substances) is often the first step.

Many drug rehab centers provide specialized treatment programs for veterans that include dual diagnosis care, or treating both substance use and mental health issues at the same time. Treatment programs may include group therapy and family therapy for loved ones.

Some treatment programs that may be offered to veterans include:

  • Detox programs
  • Outpatient treatment programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with methadone or Suboxone
  • Partial hospitalization day treatment
  • Residential treatment
  • Inpatient drug rehab
  • Continuing care

Drug and alcohol rehab programs for veterans typically address addiction and mental health problems such as PTSD and trauma.

Mental Health & Dual Diagnosis Programs For Pennsylvania Vets

Dual diagnosis treatment programs help veterans who have a drug or alcohol addiction as well as a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD.

When a person is being treated for co-occurring disorders, they receive mental health care, such as counseling and therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, that addresses the issues.

Mental health/behavioral health disorders that often co-occur with substance use include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleeping disorders
  • PTSD
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Some behavioral health counseling and evidence-based therapies include:

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • Cognitive Based Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Motivational Therapy

Where Can You Find Veterans Rehab Programs In Pennsylvania?

Most states and major cities offer Veteran-based addiction treatment programs. There are many resources that can help veterans find drug and alcohol treatment in Pennsylvania.

Here is a list of resources that can aid veterans in finding addiction treatment in Pennsylvania:

  • Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs—The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs aid veterans and their families in finding treatment facilities in the state.
  • SAMHSA — The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides an easy-to-use database that navigates treatment centers by state.
  • U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs — Locate a substance abuse treatment facility through this database that highlights veterans rehab programs directly through the VA.

Qualities To Look For In Pennsylvania Veterans Rehab Programs

When seeking drug and alcohol rehab for co-occurring disorders for you or a loved one, there are some qualities to consider. Some centers offer programs targeted toward veterans and dual diagnosis, while others provide a broad spectrum of treatment options.

No matter what type of treatment you need, be sure to choose a treatment center that has good reviews and which treats your specific needs.

Some qualities to look for in a reputable rehab program include:

  • Accreditations
  • Certified providers
  • Positive reviews
  • Success stories
  • Evidence-based treatment
  • Programs targeted for veterans
  • Low staff-to-client ratio

Health Insurance Coverage For Pennsylvania Veterans Drug Rehab


Tricare is a program in the military health system. It provides health care benefits to military personnel, offers civilian benefits for family members of vets, and is available to active service members and veterans. There are four main benefit plans.

VA Health Benefits

Most veterans can find drug and alcohol treatment programs that are covered under VA health benefits. Treatment types may include residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and counseling services.

The level of benefits a veteran has will determine the cost and coverage of treatment and the type of plan they are covered under.

Private Insurance Plans

Some rehab centers only accept self-pay or private insurance plans. Luxury rehab programs often do not accept government health plans. Veterans can get help at these treatment facilities through self-pay or private insurance.

Some private insurance plans that are accepted in Pennsylvania include:

  • BlueCross BlueShield
  • Aetna
  • Signa
  • UnitedHealthcare

Barriers To Addiction Recovery For Pennsylvania Veterans

There are many hurdles that veterans may face in Pennsylvania when seeking help for substance abuse.

Some of the barriers veterans may encounter when seeking addiction recovery include:

  • Financial hurdles
  • Long waitlists
  • Appropriate treatment not easily accessible
  • Insufficient support
  • Worried about what people think (stigma)
  • Loss of family/children

Resources For Pennsylvania Veterans

Many organizations in Pennsylvania offer assistance for veterans who need support with housing, employment, education, mental health treatment, substance use disorders, and finances.

Here are some organizations where Pennsylvania veterans can seek assistance:

Pennsylvania Veterans Registry — By registering, veterans receive a higher level of communication and partners who support them. They also offer job listings for veterans.

PA Military Student Aid Programs — This PA State Grant Program administers tuition assistance for students who are military families, National Guard service members, and veterans. The program has full-time and part-time attendance programs.

Pennsylvania CareerLink — Pennsylvania CareerLink provides a range of employment services for veterans such as referrals, job development, and skill matching.

Find Pennsylvania Veterans Substance Abuse Treatment

There is help available for Pennsylvania veterans who are battling substance abuse or need help with a dual diagnosis. If you or your loved one needs substance abuse treatment, there are resources to help you find affordable care.

Contact our helpline to find treatment options and programs available to military members and veterans.

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