The Tragic Cost of PTSD: Anyone Listening?

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Daily, SFTT receives disturbing reports of the tragic consequences of post traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) among our brave warriors returning from the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq.   With a returning veteran committing suicide every 80 minutes, the ongoing tragedy has triggered the well-deserved attention of investigative journalists, but it still does not resonate in the corridors of power, much less public opinion. This is an unfolding tragedy of our own making and – make no mistake – we will be living with the terrible consequences of our indifference and apathy for many years to come.

In a solid piece of investigative reporting, Australian journalist Nick Lazaredes takes another look at PTSD to see if anything has changed since his initial report in 2007. Sadly, it hasn’t; and for thousands veterans, their families and loved ones, the nightmare of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq  continue to haunt our brave veterans.

SFTT reported earlier on some of the difficulties of treating veterans suffering from PTSD.  In fact, it would appear that many veterans abuse drugs and alcohol to cope with the trauma of PTSD.   The V.A., which is already swamped by veterans suffering from PTSD, does not appear to have the necessary resources to cope with the problem other than to prescribe drugs.  While these drugs may treat some of the symptoms of PTSD, most medical practitioners believe  that it rarely deals with the underlying trauma.  In short, we run the risk of having veterans suffering from PTSD becoming addicted to the very drugs that are used in treating them.

In fact, OxyContin often prescribed by the V.A. to deal with the symptoms of PTSD  has proven to be addictive and of questionable value in restoring our veterans to health.  Now, it has been known for sometime that OxyContin – which is manufactured by Purdue Pharma –  is an addictive drug often referred to as “Hillbilly Heroin” among other names.

OxyContin and other drugs of questionable therapeutic value are being administered by physicians to “treat” the symptoms of PTSD among our veterans.  While these drugs may be expedient at masking the symptoms of PTSD,  are we creating an even larger problem to rehabilitate our warriors?   Most of us at SFTT are convinced that this is a serious and growing problem.    SFTT feels strongly that our military and civilian leaders need to get in front of issue before it engulfs our ability to provide the proper treatment and care for our brave veterans.

We would like to thank Nick Lazaredes and SBS Australia for keeping this tragic story alive.

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