Extended Prescribing Dropped from 9.5% in 2012 to 6.2% in 2016 By Brenda L. Mooney IOWA CITY, IA—Long-term prescribing of opioid painkillers is on the decline at the VA, in contrast to what appears to be happening outside of federal medicine.
Despite their issues with chronic pain, veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) use opioids at about the same rate as the overall U.S. population.
Solving the devastating issue of veteran suicide depends, at least partly, on being able to identify former servicemembers at the highest risk.
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.
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.
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 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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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)... View Article
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,... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
“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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
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... View Article
WASHINGTON — A recent report on federal government plans to curb drug abuse puts added emphasis on the active-duty military and the veteran population. It also focuses more attention on misuse of prescription drugs and,... View Article
WASHINGTON — Young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are diagnosed with PTSD or substance-use disorders (SUD) are more likely to suffer from a host of physical ailments, particularly musculoskeletal disorders, according to study... View Article
WASHINGTON — Does VA need to employ more aggressive tactics when it comes to getting veterans struggling with PTSD, depression and s ubstance abuse into treatment? Should some of those tactics involve using disability benefits... View Article
WASHINGTON, DC—DoD health officials will increase the number of servicemembers and their families it helps quit smoking. “We are focusing on getting people the resources that they need to help them quit,” said US Public... View Article
WASHINGTON, DC—No one has ever said that quitting smoking was easy. For servicemembers and veterans, who may already be under considerable stress, giving up something they perceive as relieving their stress can be especially tough.... View Article
WASHINGTON, DC—Smoking cessation treatment that is made part of mental healthcare for veterans with PTSD improves quit rates, according to a VA study published in the December 8 Journal of the American Medical Association. “The... View Article
BETHESDA, MD—NIH is examining the possibility of creating a single institute for substance use, abuse, and addiction research. The new institute would combine the relevant research portfolios dealing with those issues currently under the purview... View Article
Thomas Kosten has been fascinated by the mechanisms of addiction since his first year as a medical student. While working through the MD/PhD program at Cornell Medical School, Kosten became interested in the field of... View Article
WASHINGTON, DC—A new Army medicine initiative is aiming to give military families better access to healthcare. Seventeen new off-base Army primary care clinics are being built off of the military installation, allowing those families of... View Article
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