If the devastating implications weren’t so gut-wrenching, many of us would be rolling in the aisles with laughter. Unfortunately, Karen Seal of the San Francisco VA Medical Center has sadly concluded that “the use of opiate pain medications in those patients (veterans suffering from PTSD) is, frankly, risky.” According the Austin Statesman, “a growing body of research shows that PTSD and powerful prescription drugs can be a deadly mix.
“Six months ago, a study of 141,000 veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts concluded that combining prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone with PTSD was like pouring kerosene on a fire: Those with the mental health diagnosis were nearly three times more likely to be prescribed opiates than veterans without PTSD. Worse, they were also much more likely to have poor outcomes, including overdoses.”
Almost anyone with half-a-wit could have reached the same conclusion several years ago. In fact, SFTT has reported on many occasions that the prescription of opiates to those with PTDS symptoms has certainly exacerbated problems for veterans and may have turned these troubled warriors into junkies. Why? Institutional barricades have been erected to protect those complicit in providing improper treatment to tens of thousands veterans who certainly deserve better care. Why should anybody be surprised that the government is now throwing another $100 million to help better diagnose PTSD. Can we expect a better outcome? If you think so, then you probably believe in the tooth fairly.
What about the 2006 study reported by the Austin Statesman quoting University of Washington pain researcher Mark Sullivan who wrote that the: “Use and abuse of opioids appears to be common in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder.” Wouldn’t it have been wiser to throw $100 million at alternative treatments for PTSD than for the VA and Defense Department to pretend they are now doing something “right” because the pharmaceutical lobby was calling the shots all along.
I don’t mean to be cynical, but drugs are big business and the pharmaceutical companies that provide expensive, addictive and dangerous drugs have a vested interested in keeping the public and their Beltway puppets in the dark on the long term effects of these powerful drugs. Who suffers? The taxpayer and the brave young men and women who have sacrificed so much for this country.
If you want your voice to be heard, consider adding your voice to SFTT and help get our veterans the treatment they deserve.