We all experience stress in life; sometimes when we’ve had a bad
day, we drink a beer or have a glass of wine to take the edge off. In
reality, having a client yell at us, getting into an argument with our
spouse or teenage son or daughter, or having the computer system go haywire
in the middle of the workday pales in comparison to what cops go through.
Stress? Law enforcement officers know all about it, if not more than we
do. They deal with traumatizing situations on a daily basis. For example,
they deal with domestic violence, homicides, and hardened criminals every
day. With constant exposure to daily stressors,
many officers struggle to cope with the trauma.
From watching your partner get killed, to being shot at during a routine
traffic stop, to watching car accident victims die before you, to responding
to horrific reports of child abuse, it’s no wonder why officers
turn to the bottle to numb the pain.
Law Enforcement and Substance Abuse
There are countless stories that demonstrate the links between substance
abuse and working in law enforcement. One of the greatest causes stem
from the fact that officers are continuously exposed to stressors that
far exceed the normal range of human emotions. For many law enforcement
officers, drinking alcohol is an acceptable response to dealing with these
According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, research
indicates that officers consume alcohol at a greater rate than the general
population. Further, in the field of law enforcement, the
effects of cumulative stress is associated with an increased risk of alcohol abuse, with the
odds a whopping 3 to 1 for cops.
What links alcohol abuse to law enforcement:
The IACP reports that the following factors link addiction to law enforcement:
- Cumulative stress (job-related)
- History of alcoholism in the officer’s family
- Dealing with extremes, negativity and violence on the job
- Unhealthy sleep cycles due to their schedules
Often, a new recruit will enter the force without any addiction issue,
but due to the acclimation of police culture, they slowly develop habit-forming
behaviors. Trying to fit in, new officers start hanging out at local police
bars, and over time, the reality of officers’ social lifestyles
become a part of the recruit’s normal routine.
Alcohol & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Alcoholism can occur as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Officers can develop PTSD from their jobs as police officers, or they
can enter the force with existing PTSD symptoms due to military experience
or from childhood trauma, with symptoms being “activated”
during the line of duty. As a result, they turn to alcohol to cope with the pain.
Alcoholism in law enforcement is a widespread problem for reasons that
we can understand. While our firm frequently defends average people against
DUI charges, we’re more than happy to fight for the officers who
put their lives on the line every day to protect our safety.
Whether you’re a cop or a regular person facing
DUI charges in Orange County, the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc.
is ready to defend you.
Call now for a free consultation!