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Opiate Prescriptions Continue To Skyrocket For Veterans

Our military is a sacred group of individuals who are brought together to create a powerful and amazing military that defends our country and freedoms. The people who make up our military work hard to keep their honor, commitment and courage. They go to far away lands where they face danger on a daily basis. They are away from their families and sacrifice a great deal of their personal life to serve our country and the citizens of the United States. Why are our heroes being over-prescribed prescription painkillers when they return? These are the people who sacrificed their lives for us, and they are being drugged up by VA hospitals.

Veterans Affairs doctors have been over-prescribing opiates since 2000. It has been nearly 15 years of over-prescribing and though this topic is starting to get attention, thousands of lives have been lost to addiction or other mental health issues. It is hard to have a concrete number of the lives affected by the over-prescribing but with all the money the military has, it is time that they start to put into action a plan that uses prescription painkillers as a last resort. Pain pills should not be the norm and our veterans and active duty should not be drugged and dependent on these drugs.

The number of prescriptions written by VA doctors and nurse practitioners during the past 11 years has skyrocketed. The number of patients treated by VA is up 29 percent, but narcotics prescriptions are up 259 percent! A dozen VA physicians who've worked at 15 VA medical centers felt pressured by administrators to prescribe narcotics. Many of these patients are also not being properly monitored while on these medications. "I have seen people that have not had an exam of that body part that they're complaining of pain in for two years," said a doctor who presently treats pain patients at the VA and had asked not to be identified. "It's easier to write a prescription for narcotics, and just move along, get to the next patient." "We're letting people come in and prescribing massive doses of narcotics and they also are on drugs for mental health problems," the doctor continued.

With the quantities of pills being prescribed, one would assume that requires a close eye being kept on the patient. "You would think so. But it isn't the case," said the doctor.

The government needs to be held accountable for this issue. I have veterans contacting me quite often looking for help, and not knowing where to go or what to do. Every story seems to be similar.  Doctors just write prescriptions for painkillers. Many of the vets even tell the docs that they think they have an issue with the pills and the doctors continue to prescribe. If this is not taken care of and quick, we will lose a lot more veterans to an addiction problem that is not necessary.


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