Overuse of Prescription Drugs in the Armed Forces

Alcohol & prescription drug misuse are both ongoing issues in those in the service
November 1, 2016

Service members and civilians have much in common, including, unfortunately, substance abuse. No one is invulnerable to the effects that drugs can have on a person's life.

The men and women that serve our country are susceptible to the same substance abuse habits as anyone else. As a matter of fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), alcohol is actually abused more often among service members than the average civilian. The study from the NIDA found that, in 2008, almost half of the military members surveyed said they had a binge drinking problem. However, according to the study, illegal drug use is down - this may be because the military takes harsh action internally on drug users.

Research also shows that prescription drug abuse in the military is on the rise. This is due in part to higher demand of medications to cope with injuries, PTSD, and other illnesses related to current conflicts. Dependency on prescribed medications is at an all-time high, with opioids leading the pack as the most commonly overused prescribed class of drug.

(Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) 

While we remember retired service members this Veterans' Day, we are also thinking of those currently serving. Whether your are veteran or enlisted, if you or someone you love is experiencing substance misuse problems, call 800-939-2273 to speak to an intake coordinator. Depending on the location, TriCare may be accepted by the hospital.