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Prescription Drugs Being Abused by U.S. Troops


A new survey has been released that states that one in four soldiers admit abusing prescription drugs. Most of the drugs these soldiers abuse were pain relievers according to a one-year period.

The Pentagon health survey released these findings after surveying more than 28,500 U.S. troops last year. It showed that about 20% of Marines had also abused prescription drugs, mostly painkillers, in that same period. The findings are beginning to show how the continued fighting wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003 are beginning to take its toll on troops.

"We are aware that more prescription drugs are being used today for pain management and behavioral health issues," Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force, said Wednesday. "These areas of substance abuse along with increased use of alcohol concern us."

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The survey discovered that dangerous pain relievers were the most abused drug in the military and about 15% of soldiers admitted they had abused these hazardous prescription drugs in the 30 days before they were questioned for the survey. About 10% of Marines admitted the same thing.

Prescription drug abuse is "an issue for American society as well, and we're looking at it from every possible angle," McGuire said. Experts have discovered that painkiller abuse among troops has sky rocketed since 2005 when a study was conducted. The 2005 survey showed that 4% of soldiers had abused painkillers in the previous 30 days, compared with 13% in 2008. Abuse within the previous year was 10% in 2005 compared with 22% in 2008.

The survey also discovered that the percentage of troops that have signs of PTSD has increased with the largest increase in the Army and Marine Corps, the two service branches doing most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The survey found that 60% of Marines admit engaging in binge drinking and military service men and woman have higher drinking problem then civilians.

Surveys will continue to track down and look for positive solutions for the prescription drug abuse in the US military.