United States Military Veterans sacrifice so much for the freedoms many of us take for granted. They put the country before all personal parts of their life to protect our safety and ensure our freedoms. Many spend months and even years over seas in dangerous countries away from their family in order to protect our country. As the opiate epidemic is flooding our towns all across the country, it is also affecting our military.
The Department of Veteran Affairs prescribed 270% more opiates to Veterans this year than it had 12 years ago. This is a huge increase and is creating an uproar for both Veterans and their families. People want to know why the increase has occurred and why the hospitals are over prescribing our county's heroes.
An Army Paratrooper named Jeffrey Waggoner was injured during combat. When he returned home, he was put on prescription pain killers to help with the pain from his injury. He soon became addicted to the painkillers, and the Veterans Affair sent him to a detox center to get clean.
Instead of getting the treatment he needed he was over medicated to the point that he could hardly stay awake. According to his medical records the VA released him for the weekend with 19 prescription medication including 12 tablets of one of the most addicted prescription pain killers: Oxycodone. Three hours later, Waggoner was dead of a drug overdose in which they found 8 tablets of Oxycodone in his system.
How does someone in a detox center for the treatment of opiate addiction get released with the exact drugs they were addicted to? On top of that, why did they release him knowing he was addicted along with such a high dosage of medications? This is an extreme case of negligence in regards to addiction recovery and a perfect example of what NOT to do as a healthcare provider.
Waggoner turned out to be tormented by flashbacks and night tremors from an injury he received in Afghanistan where he was injured in an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) blast. He became addicted to government-issued prescription pain killers to help his wounds, and he never recovered.
The VA hospital where Waggoner was “treated, “ prescribed 8 times more prescriptions for narcotic pain killers than the average VA hospital. The data shows the agency has issued more than one opiate prescription per patient, on average, for the past two years. Without the necessary resources to treat the Veterans real issues for pain and addiction, they simply wrote a prescription for more pain killers. With the high volume of Veterans addicted to prescription pain killers, the government needs to figure out a solution to help the people who have dedicated their lives to protect our country.