Addiction

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

Smoking Cessation Efforts Battling Entrenched Tobacco Culture in Military

“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

New Medications Continue to Revolutionize Opioid Addiction Treatment at VA

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

IHS Grapples with Pervasive Prescription Opioid Misuse in Tribal Areas

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

VA’s Mental Health Care As Good or Better than Private Sector Study Finds

WASHINGTON — Veterans with mental illness and substance abuse cost nearly three times as much to treat as the average veteran. According to a VA-commissioned study by the RAND Corp. looking at data from one year of care (2007), such… Read More

Army Urgently Seeks More Substance-Abuse Counselors for Troubled Soldiers

WASHINGTON — With wars that have gone on for almost a decade, the Army has more soldiers with substance-abuse problems than it can handle and is trying to expedite hiring counselors to help bring the problem under control. The Army… Read More

Legislation Pushes VA to Develop Sexual Assault Tracking System More Quickly

WASHINGTON — Frustrated by VA’s handling of sexual assaults committed in VA facilities and on VA property, legislators have introduced a bill to address safety vulnerabilities and force the agency to develop a comprehensive tracking system for sexual assault. According… Read More