Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Drug and alcohol use in Iraq?

From Raw Story

We know that in Vietnam, drug and alcohol abuse was rampant. Listening to Vietnam Vets this weekend, it was still on their minds and their memories, as a way to escape the harsh realities of war.
Despite the military's ban on all alcoholic beverages -- and strict Islamic prohibitions against drinking and drug use -- liquor is cheap and ever easier to find for soldiers looking to self-medicate the effects of combat stress, depression, or the frustrations of extended deployments, said military defense lawyers, commanders, and doctors who treat soldiers' emotional problems.

Alcohol- and drug-related charges were involved in more than a third of all Army criminal prosecutions of soldiers in the two war zones -- 240 of the 665 cases resulting in convictions," according to records obtained by The New York Times.

"Seventy-three of those 240 cases involve some of the most serious crimes committed there, including murder, rape, armed robbery and assault, records of
military convictions show."

It's not an indictment on our soldiers. I know I'd want a cold beer if I were in Iraq. It's when they self medicate, that it becomes a problem.

I see it as yet another issue that these soldiers and their families will have to deal with upon their safe returns home.

When more and more of our soldiers and Veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental ailments, it becomes a growing concern.
And when psychosocial disorders such as domestic violence were included, the
number of war veterans suffering from mental illnesses rose to 31 percent.

The suicide of a young Minnesota Marine was the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Almost 1/3 of our returning Vets suffer from some sort of psychosocial disorder.

Making sure the VA and our military hospitals should be first and foremost in the minds of our elected leaders.

Too bad it's getting the attention 4 years after we started a war. A lot of men and women have fallen through the cracks during this time.

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