The challenges faced by U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I went to the VA, and I wanted treatment for this or that or the other thing, and all they would give me is highly addictive narcotic painkillers, opiates, which are similar in their chemical makeup to heroin." They found a 270 percent increase in the number of opiate prescriptions that these doctors at the VA were writing. And we also found incredible, wild variation in how many prescriptions doctors were writing depending on where a veteran happened to live.
The rise in psychological trauma associated with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan should not surprise experts. The extent of wartime trauma is directly proportional to the type of warfare fought and the experiences encountered. Studies of Vietnam veterans show that between 26 and 31 percent have experienced PTSD. This rate is understandable given that the Vietnam War combat environment included both guerilla and conventional warfare. It is arguable that the war in Iraq compares to the Vietnam War, as there is no safe place, no enemy lines, and threats surround the soldier on all sides. Situations that can contribute to the development of PTSD.
I've worked as a volunteer Counselor at the VA Hospital in Menlo Park,CA for 17 years as a musician therapist. I work mostly with Vietnam Vets. War is the national creed of America. So, even though in Washington they knew this was a problem, they didn’t manage it. They allowed doctors who are overstressed, with so many people coming back from war and not nearly enough training or time to treat them, to reach for their prescription pad and write these prescriptions for medications that might dull the pain temporarily, but can have horrible, tragic, sometimes even fatal, results.