We tend to think of substance abuse as a problem that plagues only the most vulnerable in our society. It is a sad fact, however, that addiction can affect anyone. It crosses economic classes, ethnicities, genders, and age groups with such frequency that it is next to impossible to make general statements about who does and who doesn’t become addicted.

Among the most tragic cases are medical professionals who succumb to addiction despite — or indeed because of — the nature of their work. First responders are a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to substance abuse problems. For this reason, at Addiction Recovery Institute of America, we have developed a first responder addiction treatment program that targets these brave individuals directly.

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The brave men and women who serve as first responders regularly risk their lives to save those in need. Unfortunately, this can have a negative effect on their mental and physical well-being that results in higher rates of addiction. This increased drug use can have any number of causes. Long hours that demand focus can result in abusing drugs that help one stay alert. The trauma associated with these kinds of jobs can lead to sleeplessness or even untreated PTSD, both of which can lead to a higher likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse and the need for a substance abuse treatment program.

Aside from taking drugs to help keep up with the demands and unpredictable schedule of their work, first responders can also become addicted as a way to self-medicate. Frequently experiencing high-stress and high-stakes scenarios takes a toll mental and emotional health .All of these factors come together to result in first responders seeking unhealthy coping mechanisms. Indeed, studies by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health have shown that first responders are particularly vulnerable to addiction. According to the results, almost 30% of firefighters struggle with alcohol use disorder and around 10% of firefighters have drug abuse disorder.

At ARIA, we decided that we wanted to give back to our first responders in a way that honors them the best way we know how: by using our expertise in addiction therapy to help them do their jobs more effectively. To this end, we have developed a program that focuses on the specific needs of first responders who are struggling with substance use problems.


In our first responder addiction treatment program, clients will find approaches aimed specifically at these talented, selfless essential workers. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Treatment of co-occurring disorders – Many individuals who are first responders suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD that may go undiagnosed, but which certainly fuels their substance use issues. A recent study has shown that as many as 85% of first responders have struggled with mental health-related issues. Of these, 46% reported feeling anxiety and stress, while 10% were diagnosed with PTSD. At ARIA, our addiction specialists are training to treat these conditions simultaneous to treating a client’s addiction issues.
  • Residential treatment program and outpatient treatment options – Not everyone can take time away from work and family obligations for recovery. At ARIA, we work with clients to find the options that suit them best.
  • Peers in Recovery” groups – At ARIA, we recognize that building a support network of peers with similar recovery goals is key to long-term recovery. In our first responder addiction treatment program, we ensure that groups are composed exclusively of first responders.
  • Individual therapy – The addiction specialists in our first responder addiction treatment program provide individualized treatment explicitly aimed at first responders.


In the first responder addiction treatment program at ARIA, we offer a full spectrum of substance use treatment programs so that each client can be sure to get the tools they need for long-term recovery. These include:

  • Medically supervised detox – Our medical team ensures that our clients are comfortable and safe as they go through withdrawal.
  • Partial hospitalization program – In our PHP, first responders live at home but spend their days in treatment.
  • Intensive outpatient program – In the IOP, first responders continue their treatment as they prepare to transition back into their jobs and lives drug-free.
  • Outpatient treatment program – The outpatient treatment program is the most flexible of our first responder addiction treatment programs. In the outpatient treatment program, we continue to provide less intensive support around the client’s schedule.

Not every one of these programs is right for every client, but with the help of ARIA’s addiction specialists, first responders can find the level of care that suits their needs and puts them on the road to recovery.


It can be difficult for people whose job it is to help others admit when they need help themselves. At our first responder rehab in Florida, the Addiction Recovery Institute of America gives these courageous individuals a chance to do just that. And because each program is customized to meet their needs, first responders can be sure to receive the tools they require to take their lives back from drugs and alcohol. If you or someone you know might benefit from our first responder addiction treatment program or any of our other treatment offerings, reach out to ARIA today using our confidential online form or by calling 844.973.2641.