Addiction

Post-Deployment Factors Influence Gambling Addiction

WEST HAVEN, CT—Gambling disorder and its comorbid diagnoses are observed at higher rates in military veterans than in the general population, but a significant research gap exists regarding the relationships of veterans’ life and service experiences to problematic gambling, according to a new study.

Alcohol Abuse, PTSD Can Be Treated Simultaneously

DURHAM, NC — Many servicemembers and veterans seeking treatment for alcohol problems have experienced the life-threatening stress of combat, many have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and many servicemembers and veterans seeking treatment for PTSD also have alcohol or other substance problems.

New Soldiers’ Alcohol Abuse Linked to Mental Disorders

LA JOLLA, CA— Problem drinking that predates enlistment into military service might be a contributor to the overall burden of alcohol misuse and mental disorders in the U.S. Armed Forces, but evidence remains somewhat limited.

Veterans Who Abuse Non-Medical Opioids Have High Risk of Using Heroin

Veterans Who Abuse Non-Medical Opioids Have High Risk of Using Heroin

Veterans who misuse opioid painkillers have a very high risk of also beginning to use heroin, according to a new study.

Problem Drinking Early in Life Linked to Health Problems Decades Later

Is problem drinking among young military servicemembers a life sentence for ill health?

Study Links Depression, Substance Abuse in Veterans

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?

White House Action Increases Opioid Prescription Monitoring at VA

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

VA Explores Pain Management Alternatives to Delay Opioid Use

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

CDC Opioid Guidelines Could Cause Problems for VA Patients, Clinicians

CDC Opioid Guidelines Could Cause Problems for VA Patients, Clinicians

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

As Opioid Prescribing Drops, VA Expands Alternative Pain Therapies

As Opioid Prescribing Drops, VA Expands Alternative Pain Therapies

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.

Evolution of Pioneer DCVAMC Clinic Tracks AIDS/HIV Treatment Through the Years

Evolution of Pioneer DCVAMC Clinic Tracks AIDS/HIV Treatment Through the Years

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

Research Finds Unexpectedly High Rates of Pain, Opioid Use in Recently Deployed Soldiers

Research Finds Unexpectedly High Rates of Pain, Opioid Use in Recently Deployed Soldiers

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

Navy and Marines Crack Down on Alcohol Misuse with Widespread Screening

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

No Elevated Liver Damage in Buprenorphine/Naloxone Trial

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

Compound Provides Noninvasive Battlefield Pain Relief

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

New VA, DoD Model Offers Intervention Before Drinking Becomes Out of Control

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

IOM: Military Response to Substance Abuse Is Outdated, Inadequate

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

No Longer Just a Horse Drug, Ketamine Increasingly Used for Military Pain Management

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

Expert Advice to Help VA Primary Care Providers Reduce Opioid Prescribing Risks

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

More Opioid Prescriptions Adverse Effects for Vets With PTSD

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

Advocates say 40 percent of Vets Seek Counseling From Clergy and VA Partnership Could Help

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

Marijuana Use Spikes Among Teens but Cigarette Smoking and Drinking Decline

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