Iraq, Afghan War Vets With PTSD More Likely To Abuse Painkillers

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that a new study from the Journal of the American Medical Assn. has found that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that suffer from mental health disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder are more likely to receive and misuse prescription painkillers. Eleven percent of the 141,000 vets examined were prescribed opioid painkillers for 20 or more consecutive days. Nearly 18 percent of vets with PTSD received the drugs compared to 12 percent with mental health issues (but not PTSD) and and 6.5 percent of vets with no mental health diagnosis. Vets “with PTSD and a substance-use disorder were most likely to be prescribed opioids compared with vets with no mental health disorder — 33.5% compared with 6.5%.”