Is substance abuse a problem in the military?

George Joseph
Addiction Medicine
USA Today recently published an article about cases of addiction in the military, referencing a general who talked to a group of physicians about his dependence on pain medications and the frequency of substance abuse in the military. Lt. Gen. David Fridovich foresees, “An epidemic of chronic pain sweeping through the US military after a decade of continuous war.” He goes on to predict the next generation of veterans will have “some bad habits.” But, haven’t the veterans coming out of wars already had bad habits? Hasn’t the US military known that addiction among veterans is extremely high?

According to the USA Today article, substance abuse diagnoses and treatment among the military population has doubled in the past few years. Reports show one-third of military patients have an addiction to drugs. So, is this epidemic new? Is it the consequence of Iraq and Afghanistan?

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