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Study: Many Homeless Vets Discharged for Substance Abuse

Study: Many Homeless Vets Discharged for Substance Abuse

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that one in four homeless veterans (25 percent) were dismissed from the military for either alcoholism or drug use (Lavitt, 2015). 


Researchers examined the records of approximately “448,000 active-duty service members who were deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq” and “pinpointed homelessness by looking at medical records that indicated a ‘lack of housing’” (Lavitt, 2015). At the time of their first VA encounter, veterans had a 0.3 percent rate of homelessness, a number which increased to 1 percent after a year and 2.1 percent after five years. Researchers found that the leading cause of homelessness in this population was an alcoholism or substance abuse problem that began in the military.  


The study results aim to help prevent veterans from becoming homeless by implementing early intervention. The coauthor of the study, Jamison D. Fargo, stated that “There’s a step and a critical transition between the Department of Defense and the VA, where if we can get a sense of who’s at greater risk, there’s a chance to be proactive” (Lavitt, 2015). 







Lavitt, J. (2015). Study shows 25 percent of homeless vets were discharged from military for substance abuse. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/study-shows-25-homeless-vets-were-discharged-military-substance-abuse