US Veterans and Illegal Drugs
An increasing number of military personnel are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan as veterans with a drug addiction. Although recent reports focus on prescription drugs, the shock is that illegal drug abuse is keeping pace. And the sad fact is that many of these individuals never even thought to use illegal drugs prior to combat.
It is not uncommon for any prescription drug addict to switch over to illegal drugs. Known as “self-medicating”, a conscious decision is made for various reasons. Some complain that the doctor prescribed medication makes them feel “weird”, while others feel a need for higher quantities or potencies than what the doctor allows.
Combat can cause both physical and emotional pain that can be relieved with prescription drugs. But the side effects of painkillers and sedatives are not worth the relief for some. A well-meaning friend may offer methamphetamine, for example, to a veteran experiencing nightmares. While the new drug may not really relieve the nightmare problem, it relieves the side effect problem, and the veteran feels justified in using an illegal drug.
The unfortunate thing about pain killers and sedatives like Xanax is that a tolerance develops with the user, so more of the drug is needed to produce the same effect over time. These are fine on a temporary basis, but the wounds of war run deep and lead to prolonged prescription schedules. At some point a doctor must refuse higher doses to the patient, leaving the now addicted individual in a state of panic. Some go to heroin or street methadone for pain relief, and others seek prescription drugs through illegal means.
Tarzana Treatment Centers provides drug treatment for US veterans as part of an integrated behavioral healthcare program. Medical detoxification is available for dependence on any drug, legal or illegal. And our medical and mental health professionals can help you find alternative treatments and therapy for your ailments.
The paragraphs below are from an article on Military.com. It provides some very good examples of how some members of the US Armed Forces are becoming addicted to illegal drugs, and what it has done to their lives.
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Specialist Alan Hartmann was a gunner on a Chinook helicopter flying missions from Kuwait into Iraq in 2003. He described the high of flying and the feeling that "nothing can touch you," as well as the terror of being shot at.
Having regularly ferried the bodies of American soldiers killed in combat -- with the helicopter exhaust blowing warm air and the smell of death through the craft -- Hartmann said he had trouble sleeping when he returned to Ft. Carson. The nightmares were too bad, he said.
Army doctors prescribed anti-depressants and painkillers for him -- two-type written pages worth since he's been back -- but he didn't like how the drugs made him feel, Hartmann said. So he said he turned to self-medication with methamphetamines.
"The nightmares were killing me from being over there. The pain was so bad I didn't want to deal with it. Well, amphetamines is a real quick way to get rid of it," Hartmann said. "I was snorting it, and I was smoking it, and then I was hot railing it, and then I got to the point where I was actually injecting it in my arms," said Hartmann, who eventually checked himself into rehab and is now clean.
-- Source: http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,156956,00.html –
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community. The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.
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