Thursday, January 27, 2011

Addiction, Acupuncture, and the Army

Prescription drug abuse is a rampant problem in the civilian world, so it should come as no surprise that misuse of medication plagues a military that has been both physically and mentally drained over the past decade. Pain happens and narcotics can be used appropriately and effectively to treat and manage discomfort. Addictions frequently have a root in liberal prescribing practices, inability to deliver non-pharmaceutical pain management modalities, and underlying or untreated mental health disorders. However, we do live in an era where putting the blame solely on the prescriber or claiming ignorance of the abuse potential of the drug are becoming anachronistic excuses. Increasingly, VA and military facilities across the country are using CAM therapies like acupuncture, yoga, and meditation for treatment of PTSD, addiction, and pain. While this solider incorporated some modest acupuncture in his therapy, the fact he has shared his struggles and openly advocates for holistic approach to pain will help both the profession and the heros.

3-star opens up about battle with addiction

Army Lt. Gen. David Fridovich says that, for years, he has regularly consumed narcotics and painkillers to deal with chronic pain — and now he’s sharing his story
By Gregg Zoroya - USA Today
Posted : Wednesday Jan 26, 2011 21:38:59 EST
TAMPA, Fla. — Standing before a packed hall of 700 military doctors and medics here, the deputy commander of the nation’s elite special operations forces warned about an epidemic of chronic pain sweeping through the U.S. military after a decade of continuous war.
Be careful about handing out narcotic pain relievers, Lt. Gen. David Fridovich told the audience last month. “What we don’t want is that next generation of veterans coming out with some bad habits.”
What Fridovich didn’t say was that he was talking as much about himself as anyone.
Fridovich agreed in recent weeks to talk openly about his reliance on drugs as part of what he says is a personal commitment to push the Army into better addressing pain management and drug addiction.
“I was fighting the pain. And I was fighting the injury. And I was fighting the narcotics,” he says. “We have an obligation to the soldiers to look them in the eye and say, ‘I know what you’re going through. You don’t want to be like this for the rest of your life. You don’t have to be.’ ”
Pentagon statistics show the number of pain-relief prescriptions given to troops, including narcotics, growing 86 percent from 2001-09, when 3.7 million doses were handed out. That dipped last year to 3.5 million prescriptions, the data reveal, but is still more than any year prior to 2009.
He says Army medicine must be better prepared to treat pain with aggressive monitoring of medication, drug education, acupuncture, nutrition and proper exercise.

No comments: