Half a Million Drug-Dependent Veterans

by Rachel Baker on September 5, 2014

There’s not a whole lot to say here. Treatment and outreach programs that help to address drug dependency in veterans, as well as overdose prevention programs need to be more far-reaching than they are now. There is a link to a new report, “No Time to Waste: Evidence-Based Treatment for Drug Dependence at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs,” embedded in the article.

US: Half a Million Drug-Dependent Veterans .

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should remove barriers to ensure access to evidence-based drug dependency treatment and make overdose prevention programs available to veterans in the community, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. An estimated more than one million US veterans take prescription opioids for pain, and nearly half of them use the drugs chronically, yet drugs to treat dependence on pain medicines fail to reach tens of thousands of veterans in need.

The 39-page report, “No Time to Waste: Evidence-Based Treatment for Drug Dependence at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs,” compiles and analyzes findings from a wide range of sources about problems of drug dependency among veterans and the implications for treatment and assistance. Human Rights Watch found that alcohol and drug dependence are strongly associated with homelessness as well as with mental health conditions – including post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression – that affect 40 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in VA care. Drugs or alcohol are involved in one of three Army suicides, and the VA estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

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