Friday, November 13, 2009

Treatment Denied

A why is treatment denied? Because it is unavailable. So reports the Army Times.

Treatment, not incarceration, should be the first option for veterans who commit nonviolent drug-related offenses, a group advocating alternatives to the nation’s “war on drugs” said Wednesday in a new report.

The Drug Policy Alliance report [pdf] also called on government agencies to adopt overdose prevention programs and policies for vets who misuse substances or take prescription medicines, and urged “significantly expanded” access to medication-assisted therapies, such as methadone and buprenorphine, for the treatment of dependence on opioid drugs used to treat pain and mood disorders.
Now that is a change. People use drugs to change their minds. Or at least how their minds make them feel. I wonder if they are suggesting that idea because it is now more acceptable? Addiction or self medication?
Those close to the issue point out that about 30 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war vets report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression or other mental illness or cognitive disability, and that 19 percent of veterans who have received care from the Veterans Affairs Department have been diagnosed with substance abuse or dependence.

Guy Gambill, an Army veteran and advocate for veterans’ rights who took part in the conference call, noted that one of the hallmarks of PTSD “is a tendency to self-medicate. People do that with drugs, people do that with alcohol.”
In my article originally published in 2002, Addiction or Self Medication?, I voted for self medication. I guess it is catching on. Took 'em long enough.

H/T Drug Policy Forum of Texas

Cross Posted at Classical Values