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Drugs not a safe alternative for troops affected with post traumatic stress disorder

Kaila Sewell | Staff Writer

Living and attending school in a military town, many of us come into contact with soldiers everyday. If you are anything like me, when a solider walks by, it doesn’t affect you in any way. Maybe more attention should be paid. As the Department of Defense website states, “Hundreds of thousands of service members are believed to have suffered PTSD during their service in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Post traumatic stress disorder is an issue many have heard about for quite some time. Though the battlefield currently inciting the disorder is fairly new, the disorder itself is no new concept.

According to “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Invisible Injury,” by David Kinchin, PTSD made its first official appearance in 1980 as a collective term to replace expressions such as shell shock, gross stress reaction and transient situation disturbance.

Currently, soldiers arriving home from conflicts overseas are having particular problems with this disorder. The Department of Defense website (www.defense.gov) explains the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) devoted some of its $400 million budget in March, 2010 to test possible pharmaceutical remedies for the disorder.

According to the website, the CDMRP tested “the benefit of administering a synthetic form of a neurosteroid drug to PTSD patients.” The Pentagon has been looking to drugs to take care of these overwhelming problems, but is that the answer? Are cocktails of drugs causing further injuries to soldiers rather than cure the illness they are prescribed to cure? This could possibly be the case.

A New York Times article found on the Citizen Commission on Human Rights International website, Airman Anthony Mena died following his deployment in Iraq, during which he was heavily medicated for PTSD. The article states, “A toxicologist found eight prescription medications in his blood, including three antidepressants, a sedative, a sleeping pill and two potent painkillers.”

I know many people who have been killed by overdoses of prescription drugs and the more drugs prescribed, the more people seem to die. Drug cocktails are not the answer. The money set aside every year by Veterans Affairs should be used to fund research for alternatives to high doses of powerful drugs, such as stress reduction classes and pre-deployment stress management training. As far as I’m concerned, enough lives are lost in war without adding drugs in the mix. TAS

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