Service Members & Veterans Deserve Protection from Opioid Addiction
While Congress has taken a pivotal step forward to combat the opioid epidemic with the passage of the NOPAIN Act, leaders in Washington must continue to implement solutions that improve access to non-opioid approaches for pain management to protect vulnerable populations from the harms of addiction – including service members, veterans, and their families.
By the Numbers: The Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Service Members and Veterans
Active-duty service members, veterans, retirees, and their families are not immune to the opioid addiction crisis. According to former Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, “Veterans are twice as likely to die from accidental overdose compared to the general U.S. population.”
- Nearly half of combat wounded veterans report misuse of prescription opioids.
- Drug overdose mortality rates among veterans increased by 53% from 2010–2019.
- The healthcare costs of prescription painkiller abuse among service members is roughly $1 billion a year.
How Can Washington Support Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families in the Fight Against Opioid Addiction?
Policymakers in Washington have the opportunity to protect those who bravely defend our country from the harms of opioid addiction before it starts. While there is no single solution to solving the opioid epidemic, providing choices for those most vulnerable to addiction is an important step.