- Emergency medicine (145)
- Health and Wellness (606)
- Healthcare Compliance (3)
- Healthcare Public Relations (2)
- Hospitalist medicine (76)
- Injury & Illness (65)
- Medical Spas (5)
- Occupational Medicine (22)
- Patient Safety (61)
- Patient Satisfaction (36)
- Patient-Centered Medical Homes (199)
- Physician Recruitment (57)
- Preventative Care (74)
- Rules & Regulations (2)
- Urgent Care Services (44)
- Work Related Injury (3)
- Workers Compensation (3)
- Workplace Safety (22)
Prescription drug abuse, alcoholism on the rise in the military
09.18.2012Findings from a Department of Defense-sponsored Institute of Medicine survey of military personnel indicate that the frequency of problem drinking and prescription drug abuse among service members has escalated in recent years.
Only 35 percent of military members reported binge drinking in 1998, as opposed to almost 50 percent in 2008, the most recent year for which data were available. Almost no participating service members said they abused prescription drugs in 1998, but more than 10 percent reported over-or misusing medications in 2008.
Alcohol abuse has been associated with a host of problems that could require emergency medicine, including car accidents and instances of alcohol poisoning. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that even the diligence of emergency department physicians was unable to prevent 15,500 deaths resulting from prescription painkiller overdoses in 2009.
An expert and chairman of the researchers who provided this information, Charles P. O'Brien from the University of Pennsylvania, states that more resources need to be administered toward treatment and prevention of drinking and drug problems through superior strategies for treatment, more staffing, better health coverage for vets, and removing the stigmas associated with addiction.
"We commend the steps that the Department of Defense and individual service branches have recently taken to improve prevention and care for substance use disorders, but the armed forces face many ongoing challenges," said O'Brien, a professor and vice chair of the department of psychiatry and director of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania.
The scientists recommend that the DOD should treat alcohol and drug abuse among service members more seriously by enforcing underage drinking laws and limiting alcohol sales on military bases. It could also add screenings for heavy alcohol use to primary care services.
Expert says DOD low on funds
According to a follow-up article from the New York Times, the rate of prescription drug abuse among military members is climbing at a faster rate than for non-service members, and the DOD's tendency to focus its efforts on the prevention of illegal drug abuse might be missing the larger problem.
The Times spoke with an expert on prescription drug abuse in the military Richard A. Friedman, professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. He said the agreed thoroughly with the majority of the Institute of Medicine's report, but noted that financial barriers may prevent the DOD from taking as much action as is necessary.
"It isn’t as if the military doesn’t know the right thing to do. It is that they are so understaffed and underfinanced," said Friedman, quoted by the TImes.
Categories: Health and Wellness
Jay Sanders, M.D., otherwise known as the father of telemedicine, has some ideas regarding … more
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, a proposed bill for … more