Addiction Treatment Resources for Pilots and Aviation Staff

Pilots are required to remain vigilant and focused throughout each flight, responsible for safe takeoffs and landings as well as safe navigation. The high-stress demands of the job combined with disrupted sleep schedules and hectic work hours put pilots in a precarious situation where they are at a higher risk for self-medication. This could include taking stimulants to stay awake and focused while flying and sedatives and depressants to relax and go to sleep after flying. Unfortunately, this has led to an increased risk of abuse and addiction. Pilots regulated by the FAA must receive treatment from approved and specialized addiction treatment resources for pilots in order to maintain their positions.

Pilots and Addiction

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has conducted several studies about pilots and the use of illicit prescription, and over-the-counter drugs. One study, conducted from 2013 to 2017 using toxicology reports from pilots who died in aviation accidents, found that:

  • 28 percent of these pilots tested positive for at least one potentially impairing drug.
  • 10 percent of pilots tested positive for controlled substances.
  • 5 percent tested positive for an illicit drug.
  • Sedating antihistamines and sedating pain relievers (like opioids) were the first and second most common drugs found in the results.

Drugs and alcohol can impair a pilot’s ability to fly, so it is important to take addiction risks in pilots seriously.

What Happens to Pilots Who Are Addicted?

Pilots who struggle with addiction that is brought to the attention of their employer risk losing their pilot’s license and damaging their career. However, under certain circumstances, employers can choose to work with pilots who are willing to undergo specialized treatment plans such as a HIMS Step Down Plan

You need to find addiction treatment resources for pilots that will allow you to get the help you need. This includes working with sponsors, therapists, and support groups. You’ll need to maintain permanent abstinence in order to receive approval to fly again, and you won’t be allowed to fly if you relapse.

While working with an approved pilot program, you’ll have to obtain evaluations and documentation to confirm that you have received the care you need, completed all necessary requirements, and have continued to comply with additional monitoring or testing throughout your recovery.

It’s important to find a facility that specializes in pilot programs so that you can move into different phases in your recovery based on your FAA guidelines. 

Finding Addiction Treatment Resources for Pilots with Providence Treatment

With Providence Treatment, our clients can find specialized addiction treatment resources, including drug rehab for pilots.

Finding the right addiction treatment resources for pilots can be a challenge because specialized pilot aftercare groups have to be approved to work with airline pilots. Providence Treatment is vetted by the FAA to work with airline pilots.

We specialize in providing programs for working professionals, including:

When you come to our facility for an assessment, we will complete a pre-admission intake, during which time we typically recommend that pilots agree to a one-year commitment for all of their levels of care.

Those in our partial hospitalization programs can choose a program length that is assessed weekly based on personal circumstances. With our addiction treatment resources for pilots, those who finish a partial hospitalization program and want to return to work can complete our intensive outpatient program, which only meets in the evenings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

While in your program, you can expect a cohort setting where you receive evidence-based in-group therapy designed specifically for pilots. This makes it easier for clients to relate to other individuals in treatment, particularly with regard to hectic schedules and high-stress demands of the career.

No matter the level you choose, we can connect you with 12-step programs that are approved for treatment for pilots.

There are several addiction treatment resources for pilots, but it’s important to find approved programs that can help you as a working professional get the care you need while also maintaining your work schedule when the time comes. Contact our team today to find a treatment center that works for you. 

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