Are Illegal Drugs and Alcohol Abused in the Military?

Are Illegal Drugs and Alcohol Abused in the Military?

Prescription drug abuse is becoming a problem in the United States military.  Many soldiers are abusing prescription medication for various reasons.  The reason why prescription drugs are a problem is because they are not considered illegal for use.  Many drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin and crack can show up on a drug test.  If a soldier is caught using an illegal drug, they will most likely get kicked out of the military.  However, if they are using a prescribed drug from their doctor, they are not considered to be abusing drugs.

Prescription drug abuse is a problem in and outside of the military.  Soldiers often become stressed out and depressed while deployed.  They often turn to psychiatric drugs for relief.  Many psychiatric drugs relieve anxiety and depression.

Many young soldiers drink alcohol with their battle buddies on the weekends as well.  It is not uncommon to hear of a group of soldiers going out and having a few drinks with their friends.  Many soldiers enjoy getting drunk on their time off from work.  Many soldiers do not even realize that they are an alcoholic.  Many soldiers need rehab and don’t even know it.

Did you know that in 2008, 11% of service men and women admitted to abusing prescription drugs?  Most of the widely misused drugs are opioid pain medications.   These drugs are often easily given out to soldiers for a variety of reasons.

Most soldiers complain to military physicians about being in pain because they are carrying heavy loads on their back and often suffering from injuries.  However, why has pain medication prescriptions quadrupled between 2001 and 2009?

Are we living in a culture that wants a pill every time that we feel sick or are in pain?  Many pain pill abusers are combining their pain medication with alcohol and sleeping pills as well.  For some, a cocktail of medications are given on a daily basis.  This has been proven to be deadly for many celebrities that went down the same path.

It is also a fact that alcohol is more abused in the military than amongst the civilian population.   Service members also have a high percentage of smokers as well.  In a 2008 survey, 30% of all military members said that they smoked.  It has recently been reported in the media that suicides are up in the military as well.  Some experts blame it on the long deployments that soldiers were enduring.

It is clear that the military is having its share of problems with prescription drug abuse.  It is much like civilian life.  It is hard to say what the best salutation to the problem should be.  It is reported that the United States Army has recently been monitoring its soldier’s prescriptions if they are taking multiple ones.







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