Drug Problems Among Iraq, Afghan Vets Could Dwarf Vietnam

Drug Addiction Rates in Afghan/Iraq Vets Could Surpass Vietnam’s Rates

Atlanta, GA 6/15/2009 10:07 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Rather than the heroin addictions many Vietnam veterans brought back with them from Southeast Asia, today’s returning soldiers are more likely to be addicted to prescription medications — the very opiates prescribed to them by the military to ease stress or pain — or stimulants used by soldiers to remain alert in combat situations.  As a result, the U.S. could face a wave of drug addiction and mental-health problems among returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars greater than that resulting from the Vietnam War, according to experts at the recent Wounds of War conference sponsored by the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA*) at Columbia University (Join Together is a project of CASA).  Historically, substance abuse has “not only been present but fostered by the military,” said keynote speaker Jim McDonough, a retired U.S. Army officer and former strategy director at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “At Agincourt, the Somme and Waterloo, soldiers got liquored up before combat … There’s been almost no break in that [tradition] today.”



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