For many veterans, being discharged from active duty doesn’t end the sacrifice they make. The cumulative toll of their military experience can make the battles away from the war zone just as lethal.

From dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, to survivors’ guilt, to difficulty acclimating back to civilian life, an increasing number of veterans are turning to drugs and alcohol to numb their pain.

In fact, researchers estimate 1 in 15 veterans had a substance abuse disorder in the past year. Overall, they believe nearly 13% of all veterans who have served since 2001 are currently struggling with substance abuse.

“The increase in substance abuse among our vets unfortunately mirrors an increase in veteran suicides as well,” said Eric Weinkoetz, Director of the Recovery Center at Manning Regional Healthcare Center. “As we honor Veteran’s Day, we are also hoping to raise awareness of the fact that substance abuse addiction among veterans is impacting families, workplaces and our communities. It is imperative that family and friends recognize the signs of substance and alcohol abuse and encourage their vets to seek treatment.”

The Recovery Center is a 16-bed co-ed chemical dependency facility located in Manning. It is licensed through the Iowa Department of Public Health for Adult Levels IV, III.7, III.5, III.3, II.1 and I. This licensure means the Recovery Center adheres to state-mandated guidelines to provide clinically managed and medically monitored services to meet a variety of substance abuse treatment needs.

Weinkoetz notes the signs of a loved one struggling with addition are often dismissed. Or, perhaps concerning behavior is noticed, but attributed to being nothing serious and just a “normal” way to relieve everyday stress – especially when considering the combat traumas experienced by many veterans.

“For those reasons, we have included substance abuse self-tests on our web site for individuals wondering if you or someone you know has an alcohol or drug problem,” said Weinkoetz. “While these self-tests should not be mistaken for a diagnosis, they can be very eye-opening and help start the conversation of ‘Maybe I do have a problem that needs addressed.’”

For nearly 40 years, the Recovery Center has adapted treatments to meet the most pressing or newly emergent addiction issues. From alcoholism, to the influx of meth to the abuse of prescription painkillers, Weinkoetz says the staff have consistently helped clients take their first step toward healthy, drug and alcohol-free lifestyles.

“We encourage integration into everyday life and support the therapeutic value of being connected to a rural community,” said Weinkoetz.

Admissions to the Recovery Center are made through a referral system. Referrals can come from medical providers, a hospital or treatment facility, or from the addicted individuals themselves. Potential clients or residents seeking admission must be medically and mentally stable and provide health insurance information to determine eligibility.

Because the Recovery Center is a department of Manning Regional Healthcare Center, all Recovery Center employees undergo strict HIPAA Privacy Rule training. Therefore, confidentiality is of the highest priority. In fact, Weinkoetz says that keeping personal and treatment details of all residents private is not just a matter of morality – and maintaining employment – but it is essential in establishing trust between staff and individuals seeking treatment.

“We know it isn’t easy to take that first step toward recovery from alcohol or substance abuse,” said Weinkoetz. “Our goal is to let people – especially our veterans – know they aren’t alone, and help is available.”

For more information about the Recovery Center, visit or call 712-655-2300.