Veterans have been disproportionately hurt by the opioid epidemic, which claimed 46,700 American lives in 2017. Earlier this year, a study found the rate of veterans dying from opioid overdoses increased by 65 percent from 2010 to 2016. Veterans are twice as likely to fatally overdose on opioids as the general population.
These tragic statistics are the result of a unique set of circumstances veterans face that make them more at risk of addiction and abuse. They are indicative of structural problems with the way we treat returning service members. They demonstrate the VA’s, and, in general, the American health care system’s, overreliance on highly addictive opioids to treat chronic pain.
The Combat Cocktail – How We Overmedicate Veterans
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