Veterans of the armed forces are some of the worst abusers of prescription opioids because such drugs have been seen by many doctors as the only way to treat a variety of post-combat ailments.
Overbooked doctors in the Veterans Affairs system have adopted a culture of using opioids as a “quick fix” for a variety of problems, including the emotional effects of war that are actually exacerbated by the drugs. Opioid prescription was the VA’s sole strategy for managing chronic pain until several years ago, and such prescriptions increased by 270 percent over 12 years, the Center for Investigative reporting found in 2013.
The epidemic has become deadly for many. Veterans die of drug abuse and overdose at nearly twice the rate of the general population, and opioid prescription and cocaine are listed frequently on death records, according to a 2011 study under the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Source: Christian Science Monitor – March 29, 2016