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Home : News : News
NEWS | Dec. 11, 2018

Resources available to service members dealing with substance use disorders

By Lori Newman Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

The Brooke Army Medical Center Department of Behavioral Medicine has launched a new program to make it easier for service members to get help for substance use disorders.

The new Addictions Medicine Intensive Outpatient Program, or AMIOP,  is an intense five-week outpatient program offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Multi-Disciplinary Behavioral Health Clinic. 

The AMIOP employs a multidisciplinary team, staffed by professionals who specialize in healthcare, addictions and behavioral health. AMIOP encompasses a variety of evidence-based interventions including group and individual counseling, classroom instruction, journal writing, homework assignments and participation in self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

“Chemical dependence is a chronic, progressive, pervasive and potentially life threatening disorder,” said David Hindman, AMIOP program director and licensed clinical social worker. “This new program is an additional avenue for service members to get the help they need to recover from drug or alcohol addiction.”

This program is in addition to two existing levels of care intended to ensure comprehensive treatment options for service members who experience substance use disorders.

The Residential Treatment Facility at BAMC is a voluntary four-week residential program that offers psychoeducation, individual and group therapy, recreational therapy and occupational therapy to active duty, and active Guard and Reserve personnel at Joint Base San Antonio and throughout the Army. The unit currently has the ability to care for up to 12 patients at a time. 

The Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care, formerly known as the Army Substance Abuse Program, was an installation lead program, but realigned under the BAMC’s Department of Behavioral Medicine in 2016. Service members who are enrolled in SUDCC typically attend one group session per week and two individual sessions per month. 

Having all the programs aligned within the Army Medical Command allows for a more seamless transition for service members to step up or down from one program to another, as needed, to address their addiction problems, explained Dr. Amber Scott, clinical psychologist, BAMC Department of Behavioral Medicine Residential Treatment Facility.

“We are what you call a dual-diagnosis enhanced program, meaning that we can work with both behavioral health and substance abuse at the same time,” Scott said.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine helped develop a nationally recognized and comprehensive set of guidelines for placement, stay, discharge and transfer of patients with substance use disorders and co-occurring medical and behavioral conditions. 

“We follow the ASAM criteria, which is the standardized way of treating the patient as a whole person,” Scott said. “We assess things such as their addiction, their home life, their coping skills and their motivation to change.”

The RTF has a 75 percent rate of success for patients who stay sober 90 days after discharge. The national average for other inpatient treatment programs is between 40 to 60 percent, Scott said. 

“We are well above the national average and we are very proud of that,” Scott said. “What we have found is the longer the prescription of care, the better the patient is. When they step down to the AMIOP, that’s when we get even better statistics in terms of their sustained sobriety.”

“This is the optimal way of treating someone with a substance abuse disorder,” Hindman said. “We have all three levels of care under one umbrella.”

“Per regulation, any active duty service member presenting with problematic use of alcohol or an alcohol related incident, and all active duty service members with any illicit or non-prescribed substance use must be referred for substance use assessment,” Scott said. 

Referrals can be made to the Department of Behavioral Medicine for a substance use evaluation, or by calling the Addiction Medicine team at 210-916-7222 for a consultation.