WITH MILITARY PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE SOARING NEW TASK FORCE CALLS FOR NON-DRUG TREATMENTS Volume 14 Issue 77
surveys, studies and self-described "aggressive initiatives" by the
Armed Services in recent years have failed to relieve what is perceived
as pervasive overprescribing of narcotic painkillers among United States
Now, a 22-member Army task force, formed
last year to examine how the military treats the pain of wounds and
injury, has instructed the Pentagon to rethink pain treatment, including
hiring and training more pain-management specialists and finding
alternative methods of pain relief other than narcotics.
are a huge problem, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to
claim victims. The numbers of dependencies and addictions among troops
is soaring, but non-medical, recreational abuse of painkillers has also
become a big problem.
According to a USA Today report, the task
force says the failure to provide consistent and coordinated pain relief
to troops contributes to suicides and prescription drug abuse, and
aggravates cases of mental illness and brain injury. Doctors are too
easily prescribing narcotic painkillers, while the Army's "no pain, no
gain" culture pushes troops to ignore injuries until pain becomes
But all this didn't just happen overnight. The military
has been performing studies and surveys for years. Even Congress
demanded changes in the approach to the military's pain management two
years ago. Although proven and effective alternative treatments are
widely available, such as Chiropractic, Acupuncture and others, little
has been done except call for more studies.
For example, a USA
Today report in March of this year said that in 2009, military doctors
wrote nearly 3.8 million narcotic painkiller prescriptions - four times
more than in 2001. The report quoted various military and political
figures calling for and promising action. But two years earlier, in an
almost identical story by the same reporter in the same newspaper, a
completely different set of government and military officials said
prescription drug abuse and addiction were rampant in the military, and
called for action.
A Pentagon survey from 2008, finally made
public this year, reveals that one out of every four American soldiers
abused narcotic painkillers in the year before the survey, and 15
percent abused drugs within 30 days of the survey. Back in 2005, a
survey found narcotic painkillers the most abused drug in the military,
and the numbers of injured soldiers returning home suffering from
addiction was out of control.
As we can see from all this, there
is reason to doubt any immediate action will take place. In fact, it
wouldn't be surprising if the Pentagon, in response to the task force,
just calls for all sorts of new studies.
We don't need any more
studies. We simply have to stop throwing addictive narcotics at every
pain, and instead prescribe known, popular and effective alternative
treatments, such as Chiropractic care. Only then will the drug abuse and
addiction statistics start to come down.
SOURCES: USA TODAY,
June 23, 2010,
and Novus Medical Detox Center Newsletter, March 21, 2010,