An article appeared in today’s Wall Street journal about a Marine veteran who had overdosed twice on opioid painkillers prescribed for a hand injury suffered in Iraq. After a week of withdrawal, he checked himself out of a VA hospital, and was given 168 pills of the same drug to which he had been addicted. The following day, he was given another 168 pills.
The article pointed out that many of the more than two million Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from a combination of physical pain (from various injuries) and PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). The VA treats many of them with powerful opioid painkillers which make for a high risk of addiction in these vulnerable veterans.