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A recent news article from Custer County, Oklahoma told about Sheriff's Deputies finding marijuana hidden in the gas tank of an SUV that was being used by drug task force agents. In other words, the very people who are supposed to be enforcing drug abuse laws were themselves breaking the law. Unfortunately, drug abuse among law enforcement personnel does happen. It is tragic, but one must remember (although it is no excuse) that they are people first, and officers of the law second.

Law enforcement is not an easy profession, and those officials who deal primarily with the war on drugs sometimes have it harder. They often work undercover, which requires them to be constantly on their guard to protect their real identity. Their work may take them away from family and loved ones for extended periods of times, or the hours may be so erratic that little time is left for family interaction. All of this can lead to stress, which can sometimes lead substance abuse.

A law enforcement officer may not use illicit drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or methamphetamine (these were the drugs included in a survey of Oklahoma residents; some statistics will be quoted later in this article), but he may turn to alcohol (which was also included) as a relief from stress. Alcohol is a drug, albeit a legal one (if certain requirements are met), and therefore can be addictive.

Drug enforcement often brings those in that area in contact with some of the worst people in society. However, for all their faults, and even though the officers know from where the wealth originated, some of those who are involved in the production, transportation, or sale of drugs live lives that most people, especially law enforcement officers, can only dream about.

When this occurs, the temptation to at least sell the drugs, even if one never has any desire whatsoever to take them, may be overwhelming. This may have been the case of the task force officers who had hidden the marijuana.

It is possible, then, that some of the 16,915 Oklahoma residents who participated in the survey may have been current or former law enforcement officers addicted to any of the drugs previously listed. It is unknown for sure, because identities were protected, as they should have been.

It is sometimes identity protection, however, that makes it difficult for law enforcement officers to seek drug abuse treatment. A law enforcement officer who wants to seek treatment may be worried that he might come into contact with some of very people with whom he had dealings in his undercover capacity, or that he may be seen by someone who knows him personally. One scenario can be dangerous; the other embarrassing or humiliating.

However, drug abuse treatment is often available to law enforcement officers and other people who need it as well through such things as employee assistance programs. These programs are provided by a person's place of employment, which can include a law enforcement agency or simply a regular corporation.

These programs allow those needing services such as drug abuse treatment to have access to facilities that provide it. When the employee assistance program staff members are involved in helping a person seek this treatment, privacy can be better protected, because the same laws that protect patients seeking medical treatment for other problems apply in much the same way.

It may be possible for employee assistance program workers to have enough access to patient information at particular Ohio drug abuse treatment facilities so that a law enforcement official, or anyone else wanting to protect their identity and privacy for that matter, can be placed into an in-patient or out-patient program, whichever one is needed, where he does not know anyone. In fact, a law enforcement official may elect to enter into a program as an in-patient simply because of the fact that he will remain at that facility for an extended period of time without leaving; something that may actually provide a modicum of protection.

http://www.justice.gov/dea/concern/prescription_drug_fact_sheet.html
http://ok.gov/odmhsas/

Oklahoma Drug Rebab Centers and Oklahoma Addiction Treatment Programs