Posted: 06/01/2012 4:30 pm
R. Gil Kerlikowske
The Obama Administration is committed to the health and well-being of our armed forces, including support for the physical and mental health needs of service members and their families. This ongoing commitment is part of the Administration's "Joining Forces" initiative, a national effort to mobilize all sectors of society to give our active-duty service members, veterans and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.
An important component of this effort is our work to support the military men and women returning from duty overseas who are suffering from substance use disorders. Too often, when left untreated, these veterans end up in the criminal justice system. But there is hope. In a growing number of communities across America, veterans with substance use disorders who also face a criminal charge are able to participate in Veterans Treatment Courts. With help from the Veterans Administration and local veterans organizations, these specialized courts respond to the needs of former soldiers by diverting offenders into treatment instead of incarceration and providing the social services they need. The first Veterans Treatment Court was launched in January 2008 in Buffalo, New York. Today there are over 95Veterans Treatment Courts in the United States, and another 200 are planned.
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