Veterans
9:00 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Interactive: Hearing on Prescription Drug Epidemic Among U.S. Veterans

According to a new report, the number of prescriptions veterans received for powerful opiates has surged since the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Central Texas veterans' prescriptions have jumped by nearly 340 percent, leading to increased risk of abuse, drug overdose and death, according to a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the agency charged with helping veterans recover from war [the Department of Veterans Affairs]instead masks their pain with potent drugs, feeding addictions and contributing to a fatal overdose rate among VA patients that is nearly double the national average.

Prescriptions for four opiates – hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine – have surged by 270 percent in the past 12 years, according to data CIR obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. CIR’s analysis for the first time exposes the full scope of that increase, which far outpaced the growth in VA patients and varied dramatically across the nation.

The report is a powerful new story on the subject from Reveal, a new program that partners the Center for Investigative Reporting and Public Radio Exchange.

Today, the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs meets to discuss the findings of the report. In the player below, you can read live updates from CIR reporters following the issue.

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