Serve our country? Get a pill!

When armed services were returning from Iraq in 2005 to 2007, I remember hearing from some people who were being prescribed 90 Oxycontin at one time. That’s insane. We have these traumatized-PTSD-brain-injured people in their late 20s coming back from war, and what did we do to them? We doped them up. We thought it would just be for a few years until they re-integrated back into society and got jobs at Starbucks. The problem is that the majority of troops have difficulty transitioning back into society.

When these tens of thousands of troops returned home, traumatized, they turned to the VA for help. I would say that service members returning from war need 6 months inpatient care and many months outpatient care. But the VA is completely incapable of providing that. And it’s only going to get worse as we continue to draw out wars. But that’s America. Obsessed with war and patriotism.

So, we did what was in vogue – prescribe a pill for every problem. A pill for a one thing, then another pill to alleviate the negative symptoms of the other pill. So many pills that you’re living in a pharmalogical, vague, foggy wonderland. It’s bad that we do this to everyday Americans. It’s a triple sin that we do this to people who have served our country.

Big pharma and the VA are responsible for the fueling the opioid crisis in our vets. But neither is willing to take the blame.

The VA hasn’t fully acknowledged its role in the alarming opiate addiction rates among veterans. A 2012 JAMA (formerly the Journal of the American Medical Association) study showed that veterans with mental health disorders and PTSD were three times more likely to receive opioids for pain diagnoses than other veterans.

The truth is you can’t have all these wars and not have devastating effects on society as a whole. Emotional resiliency is not something everyone has. When there is crisis, who do you turn to for guidance? Who is the person who won’t panic under fire? Who can make use discernment and make good decisions? Most people can’t make good decisions because they are ruled by emotions.

These troops coming back from war (most with low emotional resiliency) don’t need to be drugged up, they need to be given the proper care and help to transition them back to society. Unfortunately, they are only getting pills.

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