TRICARE Can Help if You Have a Substance Use Disorder


A substance use disorder (SUD) can affect anyone, and chances are you may know someone who’s battling one. According to the most recent statistics by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1.9 million Americans sought treatment in 2017 for a SUD. If you think you or a family member might be misusing prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol, TRICARE can help you.       

TRICARE covers effective treatments for substance use disorders. As a TRICARE beneficiary, you have access to:

Talk to your TRICARE-authorized provider if you have questions about SUD treatments. Some of these covered services are available virtually with telehealth services. During the national health emergency due to the pandemic, more may be temporarily available.

How Do You Know if You Need Help?

The U.S. National Library of Medicine states “substance use disorder occurs when a person’s use of alcohol or another substance leads to health issues or problems at work, school, or home.” There are many signs and symptoms of substance use disorder. For example, some signs of a SUD may include:

  • Using more medication than you were prescribed
  • Getting more medication or substances from others
  • Becoming irritable or sad without substance use
  • Choosing to use a substance rather than do things you enjoy

For help, talk to your provider if you’re concerned about yourself or a family member. Your regional contractor can also help you find a local provider who can treat you. Download the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services Fact Sheet to learn more.

Keeping Your Mental Health Intact

The coronavirus pandemic—and social distancing—can be stressful for some people. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), taking a strategic approach to managing emotions can help you cope during this time. Avoid using substances when you’re stressed. Talk to someone you trust about how you feel. If you know someone living with or recovering from SUD, give them a call. Or consider secure video chat so he or she can see your face. If you feel you or a family member may be misusing alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs to cope with stress, reach out for help. The Military Health System Nurse Advice Line is available 24/7 by phone, web chat, or video chat. With this resource, you can get health care advice from a registered nurse.

Other tips from the CDC for staying mentally fit during social distancing include limiting news consumption, going for a walk, getting plenty of rest, and doing things you enjoy. When you talk to family and friends, try to talk about something other than the coronavirus.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, the Military Health System and Defense Health Agency are bringing mental health and SUD to the forefront. In addition to TRICARE covered services, other non-clinical services are offered throughout the military to help members. Some of these include, community activities through Morale, Welfare, and Recreation. If you’re struggling, take command of your health. Help is available.

Last Updated 7/28/2022