Many soldiers who engage in combat and endure trauma become susceptible to developing mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result, a number of veterans turn to drugs to cope with the symptoms of their illnesses.
Recently, medical officials announced that up to 35 percent of soldiers assigned to special wounded-care companies are suffering from addiction, according to USA Today. The Army inspector general specified that narcotics are the most commonly abused substance.
Case managers who deal with soldiers in these wounded-care facilities have found that many soldiers are over-medicated. Doctors who are stationed on bases are allegedly prescribing individuals with more medicine than necessary to cope with injuries sustained in combat. Experts have also found that veterans are finding ways to obtain prescription drugs illegally after their original medication runs out.
Drug addiction costs the U.S. more than $484 billion every year, according to the Department of Justice. Drug rehab centers may be able to help soldiers who are suffering from a substance dependency, but experts say that many individuals procrastinate when seeking help. The stigma behind certain illnesses, including PTSD, also renders veterans reluctant to take advantage of resources.