Tag: veterans


The effects of Veteran substance abuse are substantial in the United States. Veterans often have to cope with stress after returning from multiple deployments. They may also suffer from mental illnesses and injuries that can contribute to a substance use disorder.

Veteran Substance Abuse Related To Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Veteran PTSD

PTSD or Post-traumatic stress disorder is an extremely common mental illness that is seen among United States Veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — by experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts. These symptoms may be provoked by obsessive thoughts leading to memories, or anything that is relatable to the trama. Many Veterans turn to substance abuse to self-medicate and numb their pain. More than 20 percent of Veterans with PTSD suffer from a drug or alcohol addiction.

Veteran Substance Abuse Related To Pain Managment

Along with mental illnesses, many of our Military become seriously injured and tend to be treated with extremely strong pain medication. Once exposed to these medications, many find it hard to stop. Perscription pain medication is one of the leading factors in drug abuse today.From 2001 to 2009, the rate of opioids prescribed to military members has quadrupled, mainly because of combat-related injuries and muscle strains.

Veteran Substance Abuse

War today, like the War On Terror, is extremely different then it has been in the past. This new kind of war has increased the emotional and traumatic experiences suffered by United States Service Members.

Veteran Substance Abuse Statistics

A number of studies have shown that there are links between Veteran substance abuse, depression, and suicide. In one study that involved around 600 Veterans who were deployed to either Afghanistan or Iraq, 39% of the vets were screened and showed positive for alcohol abuse.

Veteran Substance Abuse

larger study that involved more than 675,000 active duty personnel determined that the rate of both substance use disorders and depression has increased among active members of the military. This rounds to about 1 in 15 Veterans having a substance abuse problem.  Another study determined that the rate of suicide across all military services in the USA increased between 2005 and 2007.




Prevention Not Punishment

The declaration of President Trumps Opioid Epidemic, a public health emergency, has heightened the awareness of the effects drug addiction is having on American citizens. With the United States Military battling the War On Terror, the rest of America will be battling the War On Drugs. Prevention, not punishment is key in changing the statistics.



This week in the news, a U.S. Navy veteran went into a routine appointment at his local VA Clinic in Panama City Beach, Florida to get a cholesterol test done when he found something attached to his test results, the results of a drug screening. One he did not ask for.

His first reaction was that it was “kind of weird” the Panama City Herald reports.

Robert Williams, the veteran in question, said this was an infringement of his fourth amendment rights which include “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

A representative from Senator Marco Rubio’s office said the tests are not a part of the VA’s policy and aren’t to be given without the consent of the patients. Williams tested negative for all the drugs he was screened for, but he wasn’t concerned about the results- he is adamantly opposed to drugs- but that wasn’t the issue.

He claims this was a privacy infringement, but a representative of the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) defends the drug screening that took place. “This test does not require consent from the veteran, but the veteran is free to do the test or not. … If there is proof a veteran isn’t taking his/her controlled substances responsibly, or doesn’t allow the provider to monitor the effectiveness of the medication(s) prescribed, the provider may stop the veteran’s prescription” representative Jerron Barnett wrote in a prepared statement to the press.

They have a right to do a urinalysis; it’s the drug test that’s a search of your person,” he said. “Just because they have a sample or tissue of mine does not mean they have a right to test it.” He also wonders how many more veterans will be subject to this testing without their knowledge and for those that do test positive, how it will affect their VA benefits such as health care, housing-related assistance and disability.

“The real question is who authorized this?” he said. “Whose idea was it? And who told (my doctor) his patients had to be drug-screened?” He said the VA’s inconsistent responses are in line with many issues plaguing the agency.

“That’s the thing about VA; they have deniability,” Williams said. “Everything about their process is built with an opaque protection for the people so you’ll never get to the bottom of this, whose decision this is.”