Doctors and professionals at methadone and Suboxone treatment clinics in Savannah and throughout Georgia applaud the recognition of drug abuse problems among military veterans via the prestigious Peabody Award. This University of Georgia award, named after 19th-century philanthropist George Foster Peabody, recognizes the people who utilize electronic media to tell important stories that make a difference.
Reveal: The VA’s Opiate Overload was produced by Aaron Glanz of the Center for Investigative Reporting late in 2013. The Peabody Award announcement came early this month for his story that begins with the shocking facts about a strong, handsome young soldier injured in the course of duty in Afghanistan. Once Jeffrey Waggoner was prescribed opiates to help him deal with the pain of his injury, he never recovered from the nightmare of addiction.
Stateside, Waggoner was sent to a VA hospital in order to detox. He signed a pain treatment agreement in August 2011. However, released by the hospital for a weekend just two months later, equipped with a military-supplied handful of 19 medications including 12 OxyContin tablets, Waggoner collapsed in front of his motel room and died.
Glanz reports that prescriptions for opiate pain relievers written by military doctors have increased by 270 percent over the past 12 years. Veterans attended by VA physicians die at twice the rate from opiate overdoses than non-military patients.
Drug Abuse Stems From Issues Like PTSD
Many of those opiates are improperly prescribed to veterans experiencing symptoms of PTSD and depression. Opiates do not help those patients, notes one doctor, because they interrupt sleep patterns and exacerbate the level of depression.
Professionals at Suboxone treatment clinics in Savannah have long been familiar with the many problems experienced among veterans. Of both active and reserve military vets, between 20 and 42 percent had mental health diagnoses. Drug or alcohol played into the deaths of 30 percent of Army suicide deaths and in 45 percent of suicide attempts.
In recent years, addiction to prescription drugs has stolen the spotlight from illicit drugs and alcohol, doubling between 2002 and 2005 and then tripling again in subsequent years. Soldiers who seek help for physical and mental ailments just take the pills they’re given—if a doctor prescribes opiates, it must be okay, right?
For many soldiers and the families they’ve left behind, it’s too late. For you, it’s not too late. If you or someone you know needs help with opiate addiction, call a local Suboxone clinic today.