Associate Magazine FBINAA Q2-2023

Continued from "The Alcoholic Officer", on page 25

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER TREATMENT? In the substance abuse field, there are two types of alcohol ics: active alcoholics and recovering. The goal is to remain in the recovery phase. Residential treatment does not guarantee lifelong abstinence. A relapse can occur at any time. Substance recovery is not a one-and-done treatment. In a residential program, the client is taught to seek outside professional assistance with a therapist and to actively participate in programs such as Alcohol Anony mous (AA), having a sponsor, and living a substance-free lifestyle and psychological care. A law enforcement agency is not responsible for ensuring the officer maintains sobriety; this is the officer's responsibility. The agency should never mandate an officer to attend AA. or other treatments as a condition of employment. The agency is respon sible for a "ready and fit" officer for deployment. The agency must hold the officer accountable and responsible to be ready-fit. As discussed in part one, an agency must have policies reinforced by responsible supervision regarding "ready and fit" personnel. How ever, an agency executive is responsible for providing resources such as peer support, life & emotional survival training, Employee Assistance Programs, health insurance that covers mental health and wellness, and treatment for PTSD. These programs help with removing the stigma of seeking help. Agencies that fail to invest in employee wellness have higher turnover, higher absenteeism, and more significant loss of employee work production. Agencies should be proactive and not reactive. About the Author: Patrick Kenny is a retired law enforcement executive, serving 40 years as a law enforcement officer in South Florida. He has a Ph.D. in psychology and is a licensed therapist actively treating first responders and veterans with substance abuse and other mental health issues. Dr. Kenny created and administered the Behavioral Services Division for the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, Florida, and oversaw the administration of Fitness for Duty evaluations for the agency. He is a graduate of Session 237, member of the FBI National Academy Associates, presenter, and author. He is president of Behavioral Consulting, LLC., providing consulting and training to law enforcement agencies regarding first responder mental health, PTSD, and sub stance abuse. Dr. Kenny can be reached at

Clinically, the DSM-V criteria identify alcoholism as alcohol taken in more significant amounts and over an extended period, with an inability to reduce consumption. Much time is spent acquiring alcohol and recovering from its effects. Many have a craving upon awakening or throughout the day, and social/occu pational functioning is decreased, leading to isolation. The term "denial" is observed until the alcoholic identifies the consequences of their addiction and seeks help. Usually, there are consequences such as a loss or separation, divorce, workplace discipline, termination, or an arrest for DUI or domestic battery. WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS TOWARD RECOVERY? An intervention. Not like you see on television; rather, it is a direct approach with the alcoholic from a family member or friend, who will no longer tolerate or enable the alcoholic. A new set of boundaries are established. The alcoholic must be held accountable for their alcoholism. Alcoholics seldom see that they need help or know how to get help; if they did, they would have long before now. Most alcoholics in law enforcement will tell you that it is unsafe for them to go to a treatment center because they will come into contact with the people they arrest, which is unlike ly. Treatment centers are very safe and are not jails. Also, officers mistakenly believe going to rehab will affect their certification or will be terminated. Rehabilitation is covered under the FMLA. It is not the recovery that an officer is disciplined; instead, the actions occurring before created the discipline. As an employer, an intervention is a touchy area to engage. It is not your responsibility to mandate an officer into treatment; rather, you are policing their behaviors and readiness for duty. Using standards and policies to dictate expectations and perfor mance can establish the boundaries and the consequences of failing to meet them. This serves as an intervention without call ing it an intervention, allowing you, the chief executive, to ensure a ready-fit officer. A Fitness for Duty evaluation is an excellent tool to provide physical and psychological fitness. The psychologist will identify readiness based on the agency's job description and policies, and make recommendations to the agency and the of ficer to follow, such as rehabilitation treatment. WHERE TO TURN AND WHAT TO EXPECT? First, insurance is the best option unless someone can af ford the out-of-pocket treatment that can cost $1000 a day or more. Most HMO types of insurance do not cover detoxification or residential treatment care. Consult with the insurance car rier to obtain the level of coverage. The next step is to locate a program. Fortunately, some rehabilitation treatment centers have public safety tracks specifically designed for law enforcement, firefighters, corrections, and the military population. A search of the internet can provide the availability of treatment centers. Active alcoholics need detoxification to ensure they are safely and medically detoxed from alcohol. This can take a week or more. Most treatment centers have detoxification units. After detoxifica tion, the "client" is admitted to residential treatment. Residential treatment is where the work begins. Most residential treatment programs are 30-45 days of in-patient care, meaning they will re side there. Treatment includes individual therapies, group therapy sessions, a 12-step program, trauma therapy, and other evidence based treatments. The treatment center is essential, allowing the "client" to find sobriety for the first time in a very long time. The client develops coping skills and a better understanding of addic tion and treatment.


26 FBINAA.ORG | Q2 2023

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