Managing Encounters with Returning Veterans

Over 2 million U.S. Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy personnel have served since 2001 in the theaters of Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF); since 2003 in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF); and since 2010 in Operation New Dawn (OND). One in six returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffers from a substance abuse disorder, and the number of veterans treated for mental illness and substance abuse has increased 38 percent since 2004.1 These veterans interact with law enforcement officers regularly; therefore, it is important to increase awareness about the problem and develop strategies for training officers in practical solutions for encounters with veterans.