Examining the Struggles of Addicted Veterans

10 November 2017
Addicted Veterans

As the nation prepares to observe another Veterans Day, Recovery Unplugged Texas would like to acknowledge the selfless dedication and bravery exhibited by the men and women of our armed forces, both active and retired. They’re contributions to protecting our safety and independence should be recognized well beyond a single day of the year. We recognize that it takes a special kind of person to put on a uniform and serve. They’re willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to better ensure the preservation of our freedom and values is truly inspiring and we are truly grateful for your sacrifice.

We also recognize the enormous challenges that many of our returning veterans face as they return home from active duty and endeavor to acclimate themselves back into their everyday lives. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports that 27 percent of all veterans in VA care who are diagnosed with PTSD also have Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Trauma is one of the leading drivers and sustainers of substance abuse among addicted veterans. Factors that have led to the proliferation of addicted veterans include lack of access to quality mental health treatment and increased vulnerability to prescription opioids and benzodiazepines.

The VA has also come under some scrutiny because of the extremes with which they prescribed and then withheld opioid for patients suffering from chronic pain. As we stop to think about the plight of our addicted veterans tomorrow and well after, it’s worth considering the impediments to mental health and quality of life that they encounter on a daily basis and the obstacles they face as they endeavor to maintain their lives. Examining systemic flaws in veteran care is the first step to making sure that our active and retired servicemen and women are treated with fairness, compassion and equity.