A Shared Burden: The Military and Civilian Consequences of Army Pain Management Since 2001 – Opioid Drug Problem, Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycodone, Addiction and Rehabilitation, Veterans Courts

by Progressive Management

Publisher: Progressive Management

Publication Date: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 9781311312976

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. The Army has an opioid drug problem that is not going away under current personnel policies and medical practices. The survey results recorded here indicate that senior officers attending the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) recognize that the opioid problem is distinct in nature and origin from those of recreational drug abuse. Yet, these officers are saddled with a legacy drug enforcement structure and outdated procedures that do not track opioid usage across the force and do not address the root cause of the issue. They are commanding units under a regulatory structure that belatedly responds to opioid-related misuse with the same misconduct-focused disciplinary policies as those for recreational drug use, rather than with a proactive medical and personnel approach crafted for this unique problem set that emphasizes prevention and rehabilitation. The USAWC officer survey responses reflect the fact that the majority of these future Army leaders see misuse originating out of prescribing practices, a lack of medical monitoring, and a lack of soldier training and education on the dangers of opioids, rather than from undisciplined soldiers.

The comparison of the two surveys reveals that, in most instances, there is not a significant gap between civilian judge and senior Army officer thinking as to the nature and seriousness of the problem. Rather, military prescription practices and the application of legacy policies that presume separation as opposed to prevention and rehabilitation are creating the cracks for a future civil-military gap to widen. Army procedures that continue to supply opioids on a wide scale, but then transfer the adverse long-term costs of those policies onto civilian society, are not in the best interest of Army readiness, soldier health, or civilian safety and fiscal security. Army policy and regulatory reform is needed to ...