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Resource ID: #24714
Source:Mililtary Times (Springfield, Va.)
The stories looked at the nature and scope of the use of prescription drugs in the military community, with a focus on psychiatric medications and painkillers. The reporting found that use of psychiatric medications has risen dramatically in the past several years and some doctors suggest it may be a factor in the military's suicide epidemic of recent years. Reporters found that many psychiatric drugs - including powerful anti-convulsants and anti-psychotic medications - were being used "off label", or in ways not formally approved by the FDA. Reporters found that many troops were taking up to 10 medications at a time in so-called drug cocktails that experts say are untested and unproven in these combinations. Reporters also found that deaths caused by accidental drug overdoses had tripled during the past several years and that the Army's specialty care units were quietly conducting internal investigations and making significant changes to hospital protocols to reduce risk of accidental deaths. Finally, they found that psychiatric drug usage was also up significantly among military children.