Blog: Opioid Use in the Veteran’s Administration System

“Recent news reports have denounced rates of opioid prescribing for war veterans. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, rates of opioid prescribing by VA doctors have increased two hundred and seventy percent over the last twelve years. The VA is now prescribing more than one opioid prescription for each patient it treats.

The dramatically different opioid prescribing rates between different VA systems are concerning. For example, doctors at a VA hospital in Oklahoma prescribed 160.7 opioid prescriptions for every one hundred patients, compared to doctors at a VA hospital in Manhattan, who prescribed 19.8 opioid prescriptions for every one hundred VA patients treated. That’s more than an eight-fold difference.”

Source: – October 19, 2013


  1. Sheila Anderson says

    I am a Veteran in the VA system. I am 62 yrs old and have numerous medical issues. Degenerative disc disease, fusions in my neck and low back, neuropathy, radiculopathy, failed laminectomy syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis , ect. and have taken 5 mg of Percocet for years and have become tolerant so I saw a VA Dr. and he changed my pain med to oxycodone 15 mg. to be taken 1/2 pill in am, 1/2 pill in pm and one 15mg at bedtime. My Rheumatologist put me on methotrexate and I was finally able to get thru the day. I don’t ever expect to be pain free, just able to function. He gave me the new pain med in March and in May he did a urinalysis. I have had many urinalysis during my years at the VA without any issues. This test came back positive for oxycodone and opiates. I still wasn’t concerned because I thought this pain med was an opiate. When he reviewed my test , he immediately stopped my pain med and accused me of going outside the VA system to get more. That I wasn’t getting enough from him to test positive. I have been with the VA system for over 36 yrs and have never gotten meds that were not given to me by the VA or the Drs they send me to. Rheumatologist retested the sample at her hospital and it also came back positive. I was told that the VA is stopping a lot of the pain meds and I can understand some of it, but not in my case. I have started going thru my patient advocate to get some help and will take this as far as I possible can. What is your opinion on this? When I talked to the VA Pharmacist they told me some patients test positive and some don’t. What is your recommendation? I have difficulty getting thru the day and this is not living.
    Thank you for any help you can give me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>