Over 300,000 troops have returned from Afghanistan or Iraq with depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, , or a combination of those afflictions. The Pentagon has largely treated these problems with prescription drugs. An Army report released last year stated that one-third of the force was on at least one prescription medication.
Use of psychiatric and narcotic drugs is being linked to a number of other problems, including accidents, drug dependency, and suicide. Accidents involving fatal mixtures of prescriptions are increasingly common. Over 100 soldiers died from mixing prescriptions between 2006 and 2009. All of these deaths were ruled accidents, not suicides.
The dangers of overmedicated troops has prompted the Department of Defense to better monitor and restrict prescription medications. The Army and Navy are also offering a broader spectrum of non-drug treatments such as acupuncture, therapy, and yoga. However, shortages of mental health professionals has hampered their efforts of providing adequate therapy.
- For Some Troops, Powerful Drug Cocktails Have Deadly Results (nytimes.com)
- NYT: Drug cocktails have deadly results for some troops (msnbc.msn.com)
- US Military Awash in Deadly Prescription Drugs (newser.com)
- Veterans and the cocktails of psychotropics endemic to all of psychiatry sometimes causing death (bipolarblast.wordpress.com)
- Psychiatric Drugs as Agents of Trauma by Charles L. Whitfield, MD – “Drug Stress Trauma Syndrome” (bipolarblast.wordpress.com)