Recently, agencies have been reporting the disturbing news that our active duty military
Wade Coye, Disability Attorney
men and women are being prescribed an enormous amount of medication – more than ever before in American history. According to the LA Times, the Army has seen an eightfold increase in the prescriptions of narcotics, sedatives, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and anti-anxiety medications since 2005, and as many as 6% of our armed service members are currently on some form of prescribed medication to help them with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a number of other physical and mental ailments.
The numbers increase dramatically when we begin to include veterans. Our young men and women today are suffering PTSD, anxiety, and depression like never before, both on the battlefield and after they return home. Some of these servicemembers return stateside with the same prescriptions for their physical and mental ailments, but without additional therapy, family, or job placement support. The unemployment rate for the 18-24 age range is over 25%, and bad financial situations and feelings of worthlessness can add to the soldier’s anxiety or depression. Sometimes they even suffer from employment discrimination, which is illegal under USERRA Some of the prescription medications our soldiers take include warning labels for users up to the age of 24 because include an increased risk of harm to self or others. Unfortunately, the suicide rate is the highest for veterans it has been in years – as high as 20% of all suicides in the country being committed by a veteran.
Veterans’ benefits are available for these soldiers who are victims of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other physical and mental ailments. In some cases, a veteran who is eligible for veterans’ benefits may also be eligible to receive benefits from Social Security disabilityas well – it just depends on the situation. While the military is investigating into the number of active duty troops on medication overseas, we in the states need to be sure to take care of these servicemembers once they have returned back into our workforce. They are valuable social members who have learned invaluable life-long skills and benefits who should not only be given pills to be “made functional,” but who should be given the best support and care America can offer.
If you are, or know, a disabled veteran who is not receiving benefits, ask him or her to please contact us to discuss their situation.