Veterans who misuse opioid painkillers have a very high risk of also beginning to use heroin, according to a new study.
Is problem drinking among young military servicemembers a life sentence for ill health?
What are the patterns over time of depression, smoking, unhealthy alcohol use and other substance use among individuals receiving medical care, and when are integrated screening and treatment strategies warranted?
By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON—The White House’s announcement this summer of new steps to address the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic had a mixed message for the VA: While the administration specifically praised the VA’s new opioid prescribing policies for… Read More
By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON—Since the rollout of the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative in 2014, the department has aggressively focused on developing non-narcotic alternatives to reduce opioid use for chronic pain. Now, attention is turning to options that delay or… Read More
Congress Is Forcing VA to Comply With ‘Voluntary’ Document By Annette M. Boyle ATLANTA — VA clinicians and their patients might find themselves in a difficult position related to proposed opioid prescribing guidelines from the national Centers for Disease Control… Read More
A year ago, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rolled out new restrictions on hydrocodone-based painkillers, creating a painful situation for many veterans.
By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON – When the first Infectious Disease Clinic took place at the Washington, DC, VAMC in 1985, only a handful of HIV-infected patients took advantage. In fact, the disease hadn’t even been named “human immunodeficiency virus;” that… Read More
By Annette M. Boyle SILVER SPRING, MD – Skyrocketing prescription opioid use in the civilian population has attracted widespread medical and media attention. While the DoD and VA implemented a pain management task force in 2010, relatively little research has… Read More
By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — If Navy leadership has anything to do with it, the misleading stereotype of the drunken sailor or hard-drinking Marine will fade into the past. Though Navy officials note that their alcohol-abuse problems are no greater… Read More
SEATTLE — Buprenorphine/naloxone (BUP) and methadone (MET) are effective in treatment of opioid dependence, but some concerns have been raised about a link between the use of BUP and drug-induced hepatitis. A new study from VA Puget Sound Health Care… Read More
FORT BRAGG, NC — Oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC) is a rapid and noninvasive pain-management strategy that provides safe and effective analgesia in the pre-hospital battlefield setting, according to a new study.1 The authors of the report, which appeared in… Read More
By Sandra Basu Vladimir Nacev, PhD WASHINGTON – In the past, healthcare systems typically waited until a drinker sought help for alcohol dependence before intervening. Now, a newer model encourages clinicians to engage with their patients about alcohol use before… Read More
By Sandra Basu Poster used in the Army campaign to stop widespread abuse of drugs and alcohol. WASHINGTON — The military has not done enough to accept the high level of substance misuse among its ranks or to modernize its… Read More
Annette M. Boyle ROCKVILLE, MD — Morphine has met its match — and then some. After 200 years as the gold standard in battlefield analgesia, morphine is increasingly giving way to ketamine, a phencyclidine (PCP) derivative initially used in veterinary… Read More
By Annette M. Boyle MINNEAPOLIS — For primary care providers in the VA healthcare system, the use of opioid therapy to alleviate chronic pain requires an ongoing balance of risks and benefits for each patient, a challenge made more difficult… Read More
By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Veterans with PTSD are more likely than others to be prescribed opioids for post-injury pain, and that can lead to an increase in adverse mental and physical effects, according to a recent VA study. “Iraq… Read More
By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — According to VA statistics, four out of 10 veterans with mental-health challenges seek assistance from clergy — more than all other types of mental-health providers combined. Veteran advocates and researchers maintain, however, that VA has… Read More
By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — A new survey of teen drug use shows that, while alcohol use continues its long-term decline, marijuana use has surprisingly spiked, suggesting a changing attitude among teens about the dangers of its regular use. The… Read More
“Smoke ’em if you got ’em.” For generations of military personnel, that phrase originating in World War II was the signal to take a break or at least to cool their heels while waiting. So ingrained was tobacco use in… Read More
The problem of prescription opioid addiction is nothing new for U.S. military forces. It stretches back to the mid-1800s, when many wounded Civil War veterans became hooked on narcotics used to control their pain This is a photo of the… Read More
WASHINGTON — When a recent CDC report noted that deaths from prescription painkillers have reached epidemic levels in the past decade in the United States, the news hit especially close to home for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Prescription drug… Read More