Veterans with Mental Health Issues More Likely to Use Drugs

Combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are at increased risk of mental health problems, especially post traumatic stress disorder.

And a study released Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that OEF/OIF veterans with PTSD were more likely to be prescribed pain killers and are at higher risk of abuse or misuse of the drugs. After studying more than 141,000 veterans who were prescribed pain medication within a year of entering the VA health care system, the study found opioids were prescribed for:

  • 17.8% of vets with PTSD
  • 11.7% of vets with mental health diagnoses but not PTSD
  • 6.5% of vets with no mental health diagnosis

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The research points to the need for doctors to use caution when treating veterans who need pain relief but who also have mental health or substance-use disorders. Even in the civilian population, abuse of opioid medications has skyrocketed, with increased rates of addiction and overdose deaths.

But, the authors noted: “Most VA primary care clinicians lack specialized training in the management of co-morbid pain and PTSD.”

You can read the JAMA abstract from the study HERE.


5 Responses

  1. […] Veterans with Mental Health Issues More Likely to Use Drugs ( Share this:TwitterFacebookRedditStumbleUponDiggEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. typical with the military and va docs to use meds instead of trying to look outside the box for helping us. thanks for the article.

  3. Reblogged this on veterans news 3.0.

  4. Words do not describe the actual giving Opoids to younger testosterone filled men without a intensive therapy, in house program.

    We should press the military for a two or four week, in house PTSD therapy program.

    Suicides are happening and we are handing out morphine that masks our anxiety and PTSD without giving them a way to deal with PTSD.

    This disorder heals quicker you implement after deployment.

    Is this financial.

    Why do we not invest the same vitality we do to train them for combat, it seems only fair to me to have a month boot camp rehab.

  5. […] Veterans with Mental Health Issues More Likely to Use Drugs ( […]

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