War veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are two times more likely to be prescribed potentially addictive opiod painkillers such as oxycodone, morphine and hydrocodone than those without any mental health problems, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Out of about 141,000 war veterans who were treated for pain at a VA medical center between 2005 and 2010, close to 16,000 were prescribed at least a three-week course of opioids, the study found. While less than seven percent of vets without any mental health problems were prescribed the powerful painkillers, close to 12 percent with a diagnosis such as depression or anxiety were given opioids, and almost 18 percent with PTSD received a prescription.
Dr. Karen Seal, the study’s lead author, told Reuters those numbers were worrisome because some people who take opioids abuse the drugs or overdose on them – and those who already have mental troubles may be most at risk.
Read more about prescription drug addiction among American troops here.