September 3, 2014

The Military’s Prescription Drug Addiction

pin it button The Military’s Prescription Drug Addiction

by Kelly Vlahos
The American Conservative

Quote1 The Military’s Prescription Drug Addiction

Overmedication is an epidemic in our armed forces—and claims lives far from the battlefield.

The pattern is relentless: young veteran, barely 30, over-medicated, and not only uncertain but grim about his future. He may still be married, but is likely divorced, possibly estranged from his children. His family frets over his physical and mental health, while taking careful note of his ups and his downs.

Then one day, he dies. The veteran may have taken his own life deliberately. In an increasing number of cases, however, he may have simply gone to sleep and never woken up following a fatal reaction to one of the drugs or cocktails of pills he was prescribed by military doctors.

As our nation has come to rely more heavily on pharmaceutical drugs to manage chronic pain and psychological health, the U.S. military has followed suit, doling out drugs on the battlefield and now back on the home front in a vast network of veterans (VA) hospitals and clinics. But as the rates of sudden death and suicide have spiked over the past decade, it’s become clearer to mental health and military advocates that this heavy reliance on prescription drugs may be partly to blame.

Militarysuicidedrugs1 150x150 The Military’s Prescription Drug Addiction

“You get a cocktail, and it’s usually a sleeping pill, anti-anxiety medication, an anti-depressant, and an anti-psychotic—and sometimes even a stimulant like Ritalin or Adderall,” noted Lt. Col. Charles Ruby, who retired from the Air Force and is now working as a clinical psychologist and advocate for veterans. “You have no idea what can happen,” tells TAC.

“Prescription drugs have become the catchall—‘take this and if it makes you feel better, we’ll increase the dosage’,” according to (Ret.) Brigadier Gen. Becky Halstead, a public proponent of alternative medicine following her own two-year stint on medications for chronic fibromyalgia.

We use prescription drugs because it is a quick fix. It started because our military was strained and it was just keeping more people propped up to do their jobs. But the long-term danger is we made people too dependent on it. It’s alarming to me.

Nationally, prescription drug overdoses have risen significantly. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, for example, the number of Americans who died from painkillers rose to 14,800 in 2008 from 4,000 in 1999—the vast majority being unintentional.

In 2008, Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, then the Army’s Surgeon General, raised eyebrows when he mentioned that there had been “a series, a sequence of deaths” in the new warrior transition units (WTU) military-wide. The units are supposed to help wounded and sick soldiers transition back into uniform or out of the military, but they’ve been beset with drug problems and low morale for years.

pills hat 150x150 The Military’s Prescription Drug Addiction

“Half of the warriors are ‘stoned’ on psychotropic drugs,” said one report about the WTU at Fort Drum, NY, in 2012. Another Army report in 2011 said 25 to 35 percent of the soldiers in these units nationwide were “addicted to drugs.” Reporters obtained an internal study in 2010 that revealed 32 soldiers and Marines in the WTUs had died from accidental overdoses since 2007.

Meanwhile, the drug Seroquel has been implicated in the deaths of several veterans whose families say were using the drug when they died in their sleep. Seroquel is the brand name for Quetiapine, and although it is supposed to be prescribed for schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, military and VA doctors have used it for years to treat stress-induced insomnia.

According to at 2010 report by the Military Times, orders for antipsychotic medications like Seroquel and Risperdal (another anti-psychotic) jumped 200 percent between 2001 and 2009, the war’s peak.  In fact, before the company was  successfully sued (for paying kickbacks to doctors in a scheme to promote Seroquel for uses not approved by the FDA, otherwise known as “off label”), drug-maker AstraZeneca sold $340 million worth of it to the Armed Forces. Some 54,581 prescriptions for Seroquel were written for active duty servicemembers in 2011 alone—the vast majority as a sleep aid.

While off-label prescriptions are legal and common, critics like Harvard University research psychologist Dr. Paula Caplan, say the unknowns outweigh the benefits. When some veterans could be taking upwards of 20 to 40 different pills a day, half of them psychotropic, the results can be unpredictable. “You don’t know what effect the drug may have on them.”

At high dosages and in concert with other drugs, Seroquel, for example, has been found to cause an irregular heartbeat and a higher risk of heart attack.

andrew white 150x150 The Military’s Prescription Drug Addiction

“I have never been one to say I’m opposed to medication—I’m just opposed to these medications, which have a side effect of causing cardiac arrest,” said Stan White, whose son, Marine Cpl. Andrew White, 23, died from a heart attack in his sleep in 2008. He blames Seroquel for his son’s unexpected death. The young White was on a variety of medications for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mainlyaclonazepam (anti-anxiety) and a paroxetine (anti-depressant), along with Seroquel (for his nightmares he was given 1,600 milligrams a day, double the maximum dosage given for schizophrenia, his father said).

Seroquel was taken off the Pentagon’s regular formulary in 2012, but it can still be prescribed with a waiver.

Meanwhile, numerous reports show how pervasive the overmedication problem has become:

  • According to an investigation by the American-Statesman, the military has spent at least $2.7 billion on antidepressants, and $1.6 billion in narcotic painkillers like Oxycontin over the last decade. According to the Military Times, DoD orders for anxiety medications and sedatives like Valium and Ambien increased 170 percent from 2001 to 2009. By 2009, 1 in 6 active duty service members were on some form of psychiatric drug, including 17 percent on antidepressants.
  • In 2010, a significant Army report on suicide found that in 2009, 20 percent of the active duty force (106,000) had been prescribed at least one medication for pain, anxiety or depression, while prescription drugs were involved in one-third of the 160 active duty suicides that year. Of the 188 accidental/undetermined deaths from 2006 to 2009 caused by drugs and alcohol, 74 percent involved prescription medications.
  • According to an Institute of Medicine report in 2012, 11 percent of service members in 2008 acknowledged they were abusing prescription pills—up from 2 percent in 2002.
  • An American-Statesman investigation found that of the 277 Texan Iraq and Afghanistan vets for whom they could establish a cause of death between 2003 and 2011, one in five had died accidentally due to toxic prescription cocktails.
  • According to the Center for Public Integrity, 49,000 veterans (all wars) killed themselves from 2005 to 2011—more than double the rate of the civilian population. Some wonder how much the drugs had to do with it—many of these powerful medication popular with doctors carry warnings of increased suicidal thoughts, anxiety, insomnia, and psychosis, especially with high dosages or when stopped abruptly.

Dr. Caplan, who recently published When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veteransis a stern critic of medication dependency. She tells TAC that pharmaceutical companies are in many ways working against raised awareness of their drugs’ risks:

[It’s been] shown through lawsuits that [drug companies] minimize and even conceal various kinds of harm from their drugs, including that they increase or can increase the risk of suicide or homicide.

DoD drug spending has ballooned from $3 billion in 2002 to $6.8 billion in 2011. Critics charge that this partly reflects a shift to the “quick fix” of drugs for treating mental health conditions and chronic pain, a mindset they say is crippling full recovery.

Read the rest of the article here

Original Source: http://www.cchrint.org/2013/10/08/the-militarys-prescription-drug-addiction/

The Emperor’s New Drugs
Exploding the Antidepressant Myth
by Irving Kirsch Ph.D.

The Emperors New Drugs Book cover 202x300 The Military’s Prescription Drug Addiction

Free Shipping Available!
More Info


0 commentsback to post

Other articlesgo to homepage

CDC Autism Scandal: Tsunami of Anger is Brewing and About to Explode

CDC Autism Scandal: Tsunami of Anger is Brewing and About to Explode

Pin It

I don’t know if the fact that CNN is headquartered in Atlanta, the same city where the CDC has its headquarters, has anything to do with it, but an editorial decision was made by someone at CNN to embed a video at the top of their report on the CDC whistleblower from earlier in 2014 where health correspondent Elizabeth Cohen states that within all of the dangerous side-effects of vaccines, autism is not listed. She then rephrased for those needing help understanding her, explaining that “Some people don’t hear this well: vaccines do not cause autism.”

This editorial decision to include this video by CNN, could go down as one of the biggest blunders by a major news network of all time.

The result has been that thousands of families who have children that have been damaged by vaccines that resulted in autism, have begun to post videos on the Autism Media YouTube channel on a page called: “Hear this Well: Breaking the Silence on Vaccine Violence.”

As you watch the anger and heartache in the videos posted in response to CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen’s remarks, be aware that this is just the beginning. This pent up sentiment based on real experiences is currently a tidal wave that is quickly becoming a tsunami. The mainstream media has no idea what they are up against yet.

Asian Farmers and Scientists Say No to GMO Golden Rice

Asian Farmers and Scientists Say No to GMO Golden Rice

Pin It

GM Golden Rice was developed at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines with the hope that it could provide more vitamin A through beta carotene. The project was a huge disaster, however, and basically shelved for years. But then Bill Gates came along, the college-drop-out-turned-billionaire who started Microsoft Corp., looking for something to spend his billions of dollars to promote. All of a sudden, with big money providing jobs to pursue a failed project, GM Golden Rice has new life.

There are multiple problems with GMO Golden Rice, including the fact that the people from rice-producing countries do not want it!

Recently many top scientists and farmer advocates from rice-producing countries met in the Philippines in an effort to try and stop more field testing, and the commercialization of Golden Rice. The science behind Golden Rice does not prove benefits, and it threatens genetic diversity among traditional rice varieties which is necessary in many parts of the world that experience natural and man-made disasters. Like any GMO seed crop, Golden Rice would take the future of farming in rice-producing countries away from the control of the farmers and give it to multinational corporations that would then control the rice seed supplies.

MASIPAG (Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development) in the Philippines hosted the event earlier this year, and has recently provided video interviews from some of the participants in English.

Former Staff Lead on Original Congressional Investigation Looking at Vaccine Injuries Speaks Out on CDC Fraud

Former Staff Lead on Original Congressional Investigation Looking at Vaccine Injuries Speaks Out on CDC Fraud

Pin It

Beth Clay was the staff lead on the original House Oversight Committee’s investigation looking into concerns about vaccine injuries in 1999. Working in Congress, she had a genuine desire to find the truth and find solutions regarding the rapidly increasing autism rates. What she found during her time in Congress, however, shocked her. So the recent revelations of Dr. Thompson, the CDC whistleblower, are not really “news” to her. Sadly, a government agency withholding information about a link between vaccines and autism is representative of the kind of fraud she too observed during her years in Congress.

CDC Director of Immunization Safety Admits Bias and Withholding Data Linking Vaccines to Autism

CDC Director of Immunization Safety Admits Bias and Withholding Data Linking Vaccines to Autism

Pin It

In what is quickly becoming one of the largest news stories in our lifetime, things are just getting worse for the CDC and their cover-up of data linking vaccines to autism.

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson has posted a recorded phone call she just had with Dr. Frank DeStefano, the CDC Director of Immunization Safety. Dr. DeStefano was a co-author with CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson on a 2004 study that originally was put forward as research showing there was no link between vaccines and autism. Dr. Thompson has come forward and revealed that data was withheld from the public that showed an increased risk of autism in certain populations, specifically African American boys. The CDC has already made a public announcement admitting that they did withhold some data.

Dr. DeStefano has publicly stated that while he will reveal the data again, but that he is standing by the original study. A new audio recording of a conversation he just had with independent investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has just been posted on the Internet.

In this interview, Dr. DeStefano, who is not a whistle-blower, has come out with his own confession of bias and way of interpreting data so that it does not have to be shared with the public if it is not favorable with what they want to communicate regarding vaccines.

Dr. DeSefano and the CDC is being forced to answer questions like this (which unfortunately the mainstream media as of yet are NOT asking) because his co-author on the study, Dr. William Thompson, has hired one of the top whistleblower attorney’s in the nation so that he can come forward and reveal all the data the CDC has been hiding in regards to vaccines and autism.

60+ Natural ALS Cures the “Ice Washing” Campaign Isn’t Funding!

60+ Natural ALS Cures the “Ice Washing” Campaign Isn’t Funding!

Pin It

In a previous article we published on where funds donated to the ALS Association are being spent, we showed that a small percentage was actually spent on research, and even then only on pharmaceutical products. This has been our most popular story of the year so far.

Sayer Ji brings us a great review of over 60 natural cures that have published research on helping ALS. He also shows how some of the corporate sponsors of the ALS Association are pharmaceutical companies producing drugs that are linked to the cause of ALS!

read more


Get the news right in your inbox!