Sacrifice Betrayed

The Drugging of the American Hero

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A comprehensive seminar detailing the prescription epidemic afflicting our service men and women.

Pat stood next to me, obviously waiting to say something as I was engaged in conversation with the parent of another veteran, the victim of addiction and suicide. He was only able to look at me peripherally, tears heavy in his eyes. He patted me on the back, choked out a thank you and quickly left my courtroom.

“My son would still be alive today if he were in her courtroom,” read the text that was sent shortly thereafter.

Pat and I share many things in common, but one thing we both know without contest: Opioid addiction is killing our American Heroes.

David served his country more than honorably. He enlisted in the Army after his first year of college for a three year enlistment – he wanted infantry, he wanted to see action. David spent his entire tour in Afghanistan, achieving promotion to Sergeant. He was considered the perfect solder; scoring 100’s on his PT tests, he could pick the wings off a fly at 1,000 yards. Then David was hit with a stop-loss and sent for another tour in Iraq. This was a completely different war. You couldn’t fire back… friends were vaporized standing right next to you. The injuries mounted, sleep was non-existent and the pills were everywhere. And so the tragedy of yet another soldier’s story began and continued until he was found dead in October 2013 … alone in his apartment from a heroin overdose.

The story is all too common. The statistics coming from the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense difficult to swallow – they simply do not match the reality seen in courtrooms and treatment facilities around the country. A 2010 Army report found that 14% of soldier’s had a prescription for opioids. This number represents about 133,000 active duty military. Statistics are as high as 57%. Ask a soldier and they will tell you that they “hand it out like candy.” Our military’s finest are devastated from opioid addiction… numerous tours of duty, long hours wearing heavy gear, improved medicine leading to increased survivor rates and the availability of narcotic medication perpetuate the issue and exacerbate the problem.

Moral injury, PTSD, TBI, substance abuse, insomnia and chronic pain resulting from their service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Vietnam, etc. contribute exponentially to the opioid epidemic seen in our military. In fact, a recent study reports that veterans with PTSD are more likely to receive higher dose opioids, two or more prescriptions for opioids, sedatives and early refills. The ease at which our military men and women are medicated and forgotten is alarming. Suicide rates are skyrocketing – more soldiers die in the U.S. than on active duty – and yet billions are spent on defending our country with systemic problems perpetuating their return and treatment.

Judge Jodi will present you with a comprehensive seminar on the evolution and use of drugs in our military. As the founder of one of the first veterans treatment courts in the United States, she has witnessed first-hand the day to day trials of our veterans in recovery and the abuse of America’s Heroes. This seminar will include information on the signs, symptoms, and dangers surrounding abuse as well as information regarding the current Veteran’s Administration policies for treatment and how without this information, we will continue to see rising rates of addiction and suicide in our most honorable men and women. This is a seminar not to be missed. After all, they fought for us, shouldn’t we fight for them?