The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) recently featured an article about the number of overdose deaths among America’s Veterans due to prescription narcotics. The Center discovered that prescriptions for four main opiates increased by 270% over the past 12 years.
The four painkillers mentioned above were hydrocodone, methadone, morphine and oxycodone. The largest increase was for hydrocodone, at a whopping 578%.
The CIR article states, “Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the agency charged with helping veterans recover from war instead masks their pain with potent drugs, feeding addictions and contributing to a fatal overdose rate among VA patients that is nearly double the national average.”
It hasn’t been a secret that the VA healthcare system has been over-medicating patients for a long time. New regulations were implemented a few years ago, but they appear to have had little or no effect. The over-medicating goes beyond painkillers, as many Veterans are prescribed various combinations of drugs to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other problems generated by serving in an active wartime military.
These young men and women who risk their lives to protect our freedoms deserve better care during and after their service for our country. One would think that maybe even a few billion could be shaved from the war budget and from the salaries and pensions of the Senators and Congressman.