The Department of Defense needs to do more to prevent prescription drug abuse among members of the military, according to a new government report. Some branches of the military are doing a better job than others in medication management policies, the report concluded.
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Top headlines of the week from Friday, January 24- Thursday, January 30, 2014.
The Institute of Medicine conducted a comprehensive analysis of the substance use disorder problems by reviewing Department of Defense policies and practices and by hearing from both the military commanders and the troops themselves at bases throughout the USA. It found that identifying the problems was relatively easy. Solving them is not.
Brain scientists are debating whether marijuana could be a useful treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, NPR reports.
The U.S. Defense Department will start randomly testing service members for synthetic marijuana, the Air Force News Service reports.
Some Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers are beginning to treat substance use disorders and mental illness together, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Until recently, VA hospitals tended to treat the two problems separately.
Efforts to educate members of the U.S. military about the dangers of synthetic drugs, coupled with improved drug testing, are starting to have an effect, the Navy Times reports. The Navy and Marine Corps report a drop in members using Spice and bath salts.
Many of the more than two million veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from both pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Often they are treated with opioid painkillers, which can be a dangerous mix with mental illness because of the risk of addiction, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The United States did a dreadful job in recognizing and addressing the alcohol and drug problems of Vietnam era veterans. In shameful fact, a significant percent of the nation’s homeless men are Vietnam—and now Gulf War—veterans who never got the help they needed when they got home. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, we cannot allow this to happen again, says Dr. David Rosenbloom of the Boston University School of Public Health.
The Defense Department’s healthcare plan will cover the opioid addiction medications buprenorphine and methadone starting next month, according to the Air Force Times.