Washington, D.C. – Today, the Office of National Drug Control Strategy (ONDCP) released its 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, the Obama Administration's primary blueprint for drug policy in the United States. Featured prominently in the strategy is Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)'s VetCorps program, which is designed to help returning veterans and their families access the critical services and support they need to thrive in their communities – ranging from social, mental and physical health services to housing and employment assistance. VetCorps was developed in partnership with the National Guard Bureau with funding support from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
Through VetCorps, CADCA recruits AmeriCorps and VISTA members, particularly veterans, and places them in one of CADCA's community coalitions located throughout the country to provide support to Veterans and Military Families (VMF). Community coalitions are multi-sector organizations that bring together key community institutions and volunteers to solve challenging local problems. The AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members work within the coalition's existing infrastructure to increase the community's capacity to provide economic opportunities for veterans and their families and to ensure that they receive necessary housing, health care services and family support, to include substance abuse prevention and treatment. In its first year, VetCorps will place up to 100 full-time AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members in CADCA coalitions located in 28 states.
“We developed VetCorps to improve the overall quality of life for veterans and military families,” said CADCA's Chairman and CEO, retired Gen. Arthur T. Dean. “This program is unique in that we're harnessing the skills of veterans and utilizing the infrastructure of community anti-drug coalitions, which are effective vehicles for change in their community. In addition, we will be using the valuable skills and knowledge of veterans to help other veterans in the community. I want to thank the National Guard and the Corporation for National and Community Service for their support on this important initiative, as well as the ONDCP for this recognition.”
Members of the National Guard & Reserves (NGR) have deployed in unprecedented numbers. Since September 11, 2001, 830,866 NGR have been deployed. According to a 2008 RAND Corporation study, 18.5 percent of military members returning from military operations in Iraq or Afghanistan have deployment-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression and 19.5 percent report experiencing a traumatic brain injury. For National Guard & Reserve members, deployment stresses have an even greater impact due to disparities in available services. According to the Department of Defense's Millennium Cohort Study, 22 percent of NGR members were problem drinkers, 29 percent had financial problems, 12 percent reported feeling lonely and 5 percent had suicidal thoughts.
“ Supporting our nation's troops, veterans, and military families is critical to our national security and to strengthening our communities, and national service plays a key role in this mission,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “The honor and selflessness of our veterans makes America proud, but all of us can do more to support them during their deployment, homecoming, and transition back to day-to-day life. We salute CADCA for developing this program – the largest Veterans Corps we have supported to date – and hope veterans across the country will apply for this opportunity to serve their country again by supporting their fellow veterans and their families.”
CADCA continues to recruit for VetCorps positions. If you are a veteran and are interested in learning more about the VetCorps program, visit www.cadca.org/VetCorps.
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