Screenshot from HRW video

When Emily Vorland joined the Army, she expected to see the world, build a career, maybe go to war. What she didn’t expect was for her war to be with the Army and for the fight to be over her character. But in 2010, after two years of active duty, Vorland found herself involuntarily separated with a general discharge for “unacceptable conduct” after doing little more than standing up for herself against sexual harassment.

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Photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Hada

According to a new report released by Human Rights Watch, more than one million veterans enrolled within the VA primary care system are taking prescription opioids for chronic pain. At the same time, an unprecedented number of veterans are dying as a result of both accidental and intentional drug overdoses. The report, which was released earlier this month, brings to light the growing concern that veterans of all ages are struggling with pain, which results in chronic use of prescription opioids. It argues that the VA “should remove barriers to ensure access to evidence-based drug dependency treatment and make overdose prevention programs available to veterans in the community.”

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