Interactive: Hearing on Prescription Drug Epidemic Among U.S. Veterans
According to a new report, the number of prescriptions veterans received for powerful opiates has surged since the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the agency charged with helping veterans recover from war [the Department of Veterans Affairs]instead masks their pain with potent drugs, feeding addictions and contributing to a fatal overdose rate among VA patients that is nearly double the national average. Prescriptions for four opiates – hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine – have surged by 270 percent in the past 12 years, according to data CIR obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. CIR’s analysis for the first time exposes the full scope of that increase, which far outpaced the growth in VA patients and varied dramatically across the nation.
Today, the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs meets to discuss the findings of the report. In the player below, you can read live updates from CIR reporters following the issue.