As the Senate today deliberated on an emergency funding bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ premier private-health program, a new government report is warning of “a significant risk” of addiction and health complications for veterans who are prescribed opioid prescriptions outside the VA.
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.”