Addiction and Recovery Within First Responder Culture

On the 20th anniversary of Patriot’s Day, we recognize the sacrifices and challenges that our first responders face. Every day, these heroes encounter high stress environments and unspeakable tragedies. Therefore, it’s not that surprising to see that first responders face addiction rates that are much higher than those of non-first responders.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 29% of firefighters engage in alcohol abuse, and as many as 10% of firefighters may be currently abusing prescription drugs.[1] In one study, 35% of firefighters reported members had missed their shift or calls due to excessive alcohol use. Only 25% perceived that alcohol was a problem in the department.[2]

As well, studies show that approximately 20% of any police department will have problematic alcohol consumption, and firefighters, likewise, have a higher likelihood of becoming addicted to opioids because of injuries that often result in chronic pain.[3]

The unique culture of first responders makes addiction recovery hard to talk about and even harder to maintain—meaning the rate of first responders who actively seek help is low. However, approaching recovery from the perspective of someone who truly understands this perspective can help to facilitate true, deep-seated recovery.

Livengrin’s First Responders Program specializes in treating emergency responders and military veterans. This one-of-a-kind program supports both First Responders and their families through the journey to recovery.  

If you or someone you know is struggling, Livengrin can help. Call 215-638-5200 or email for more information.





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