Posted on Oct 12, 2013

Veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas in the Middle East are finally getting the government’s attention. They have been arguing for quite some time now about the fact that they are receiving inadequate care and sometimes even getting overmedicated at veteran’s hospitals.

CBS news reports that a House committee finally heard testimony from veterans about getting overmedicated to a lethal amount in some cases at Veterans Affairs hospitals. “On Capitol Hill, two veterans crippled by debilitating pain described their VA doctors increasing narcotics dosages instead of treating the underlying causes,” according to CBS. One veteran stated, "I struggled with years of dependence on opioid therapy that was my only option made available to me for my chronic debilitating back pain. At my worst point, I was taking enough pills daily to treat four terminally ill cancer patients.” He first hurt his back when he was a first responder at the Pentagon on 9/11.

Another man who testified was hurt by a mortar shell blast in Iraq; he needs a cane to walk and has trouble with even normal every day tasks such as holding his children. In his testimony he stated, “And when I cry out to the VA, my own source of medical care, to help me with this situation, and I'm hit with a brick wall and a bottle of pills, that does not end the hopelessness.”

CBS reports, “Federal records obtained by CBS News detail numerous concerns about narcotics prescription practices at VA facilities around the country.” The narcotics situation is at VA hospital is said to be out of hand. “A doctor reported to a VA hotline she was "resigning because of excessive narcotics distribution" at a VA hospital,” according to CBS. A representative of the Veterans Affairs’ health department promised the committee that change will be made going forward but the veterans who were present were skeptical.

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Gerry Oginski
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