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Drug Abuse and Overdoses Increase During Times of War



The last few decades have seen an explosion in the availability of illicit substances, particularly prescription medications and synthetic substances like K2. 

Some military members who have been deployed to combat zones have reported that they could get any drug they wanted at their local bazaar. 

There are many reasons why drug abuse is so common among veterans, including PTSD and depression. 

Fortunately, there are effective treatment options available for these problems as well as substance abuse issues.


Table of Contents

Substance Abuse and Addiction in the Military

Although substance abuse and addiction are prevalent in the general population, the military has a higher rate of drug use than the general public.

A person who is deployed to war has a higher risk of developing an addiction. 

This is due to the stressors associated with combat and coping with life-threatening situations.


Substance Abuse During Peacetime

Substance abuse is on the rise in the military. According to a report from the Department of Defense, the risk of suicide among those who’ve served in combat has increased by more than 50 percent since 2001. 

In 2016 alone, more than 7,500 service members died from suicide—a rate that was higher than that of their civilian counterparts.

The stresses associated with serving in war can greatly affect a person’s well-being and mental health. 

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah found that veterans who had seen combat were significantly more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs than those who hadn’t served overseas (as well as twice as likely overall). 

Another study indicated that veterans are five times more likely to die from an overdose compared to civilians who have never been deployed on active duty

Substance abuse can lead to addiction; people struggling with addiction may turn towards opioids like heroin or prescription narcotics when they cannot get access to prescription medication legally anymore or have decided they want something stronger.


Addiction, PTSD, and War

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition that can develop after you’ve experienced a shocking, scary or dangerous event.
  • PTSD symptoms may include:
  • Emotional symptoms like feeling depressed or anxious, having angry outbursts, becoming isolated from other people, and experiencing nightmares and flashbacks.
  • Physical symptoms like headaches, muscle pain, and problems sleeping.
  • The effects of trauma on your brain are different for everyone. You might have all the signs of PTSD or only some of them; they might come back at different times; some people have more than one traumatic experience at different points in their life and may have more than one set of symptoms too.


Treatment for PTSD, Depression, Trauma, and Addiction

As mentioned before, drugs are prevalent among soldiers. The awareness of drugs by people in the military increases during times of war. 

The use of marijuana and heroin increases significantly during periods when soldiers are separated from their families and homes for long periods. 

In addition to this, alcohol abuse is common among veterans who suffer from PTSD or depression.

Overdoses increase as well; these overdoses can be fatal if not treated properly. 

The use of opioids has also increased over time due to their effectiveness in treating pain and trauma during combat situations such as war or military training exercises (such as boot camps). 

However, opioids do have addictive properties that should be taken into account when prescribing them for treatment purposes only after careful deliberation considering this risk factor associated with the drug itself.


The awareness of drugs by people in the military increases during times of war

There is a long history of drug abuse in the military. The U.S. Army has even been accused of deliberately supplying soldiers with drugs as a way to control them and lower their inhibitions for war. 

However, it’s not just soldiers who are at risk for using drugs during times of war; 

civilians can also be at risk for drug abuse during times of war because they live near those who have access to prescription medications like opiates and other illicit substances like cocaine or heroin.

To prevent drug abuse during times of war, we need to educate everyone on how they can help themselves stay safe from becoming addicted while simultaneously preventing others from abusing these substances as well.

The military can be a stressful environment, which means that substance abuse and addiction are common among people in the military. 

But these problems do not just affect those who work for the government. Anyone who is serving in any branch of the armed forces should be aware of how addiction may impact their lives as well as their families lives if they have them.

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