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Military doctors may be overprescribing painkillers

A new report by the National Academy of Sciences shows that military doctors may be overprescribing pain pills. This lax prescribing leads to the issue of overmedication that seems to be plaguing service people with resulting addictions.

Active personnel who are caught abusing prescription drugs may be given a dishonorable discharge, leading to loss of veterans' benefits. Unable to pay for their medication, they may resort to criminal behavior to get the drugs, such as buying from dealers or other patients. This can lead to a lack of speaking out regarding addictions. Active duty personnel are afraid to seek help because it may result in the loss of benefits they need to continue to get needed drugs.

The Department of Defense has promised to take the report under advisement and begin investigation into possible solutions. The authors hope that the report will bring to light problems associated with painkiller prescriptions and begin a dialogue between the military hierarchy and the service people affected by this problem.

Prescription issues can present real problems not only for military personnel but for civilians as well. If doctors are not careful to monitor patients on painkillers, these patients can easily become addicted, leading to further health problems and possible criminal behavior. Victims of prescription drug errors on the part of doctors can seek advice from a medical malpractice attorney to learn their rights and how they may be able to collect damages for their injuries.

Source: CBS News, "Report: Military not adequately handling addiction in the ranks," Jonathan LaPook, Sept. 17, 2012

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