U.S. Combat Troops Taking 6-Month Supply Of Psychotropic Drugs To Wars

US Soldiers

Fox News reports:

As U.S. military leaders gathered Wednesday to give their latest update on the rash of Army suicides, new questions are being raised about a U.S. Central Command policy that allows troops to go to Iraq and Afghanistan with up to a six-month supply of psychotropic drugs.

Prescription drugs have already been linked to some military suicides, and a top Army official warned last year about the danger of soldiers abusing that medication. Psychiatrists are now coming down hard on the military for continuing to sanction certain psychotropic drugs for combat troops, saying the risk from side effects is too great.

“There’s no way on earth that these boys and girls are getting monitored on the field,” said Dr. Peter Breggin, a New York-based psychiatrist who has extensively studied the side effects of psychiatric drugs. “The drugs simply shouldn’t be given to soldiers.”

Anxiety, violent behavior and “impulsivity” are all side effects of some of these medications, he said, the latter symptom being particularly dangerous in a war zone. Breggin said that if patients were given these medications in the civilian world and not monitored, it would amount to “malpractice.”

But Nextgov.com reported that Army leaders and doctors are increasingly concerned that the policy continues to allow combat troops to use everything from antidepressants to antipsychotics to hypnotics, medications they say could impair a soldier’s judgment. The swath of active-duty troops on these kinds of medications, according to a June 2010 Defense Department report, was about 20 percent…

For more information, see original article.

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  • Anonymous

    Anyone who has been around a soldier knows that many of them have been abusing pills over there and it’s extremely easy to do so. One has to be heavily drugged up to carry out those missions.

  • Laws456

    Anyone who has been around a soldier knows that many of them have been abusing pills over there and it’s extremely easy to do so. One has to be heavily drugged up to carry out those missions.

    • Hadrian999

      that’s not entirely true, some have to some don’t combat effects different people badly. I’m a combat veteran and the only thing I had to abuse were those horse pill sized motrin, you could look at 2 different guys doing the same mission and one would be a nervous paranoid wreck and one it wouldn’t even bother, they need better ways of recognizing which guys are really close to the breaking point and helping them, when I left the service the group i was with in outprocessing had several men who had to be heavily medicated just to function and you could see how bad they were going be in the civilian world.

      • Laws456

        I didn’t say that every soldier does, but I know what I’m talking about. A relative works at a psych hospital in NY & received a govt contract to provide care to the vets coming home from from Iraq and Afghanistan. So many of them have become zombies. Sure, maybe some of them were zombies prior to joining the service, but they are being pumped pills like there’s no tomorrow. I feel bad for the troops at times, sometimes I don’t though b/c they made the choice to join.

        • Hadrian999

          i feel bad for the ones who did their part of the deal then get screwed by the government.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a little unclear on the story. Is it that these soldiers have been prescribed drugs with serious and impairing effects by their psychiatrist and are then being deployed and are allowed to take an extra supply of a drug they’re supposed to be taking to deal with their mental problems (let’s just leave out the overmedication of the country and assume for this story that if they were prescribed a medication it was because they actually needed it) so that they don’t run out while they’re there? Or are they being given random drugs to deal with the horror of destroying entire countries so a few old white guys can get rich? From the story, I can’t tell which is going on? Or is it both?

    If the first, I would think the obvious answer is that if you’re not mentally fit to hold a gun without medication you probably shouldn’t be in a warzone. Give them intermediate deployments (yes, I mean things like deskjobs in peaceful bases in germany doing logistics) where they can still serve crucial roles without being in danger 24/7? Or is considering placement of _individuals_ based on what they’re fit for and best at just too radical a concept?

  • quartz99

    I’m a little unclear on the story. Is it that these soldiers have been prescribed drugs with serious and impairing effects by their psychiatrist and are then being deployed and are allowed to take an extra supply of a drug they’re supposed to be taking to deal with their mental problems (let’s just leave out the overmedication of the country and assume for this story that if they were prescribed a medication it was because they actually needed it) so that they don’t run out while they’re there? Or are they being given random drugs to deal with the horror of destroying entire countries so a few old white guys can get rich? From the story, I can’t tell which is going on? Or is it both?

    If the first, I would think the obvious answer is that if you’re not mentally fit to hold a gun without medication you probably shouldn’t be in a warzone. Give them intermediate deployments (yes, I mean things like deskjobs in peaceful bases in germany doing logistics) where they can still serve crucial roles without being in danger 24/7? Or is considering placement of _individuals_ based on what they’re fit for and best at just too radical a concept?

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      I’m pretty sure it means that the level of supervision over people who prescribed these drugs is minimal…but they have to have access to their pills even when professionals aren’t handy, so they receive a large prescription that will cover their tour (or at least a very long period) so that they can function without supervision or intervention longer. Either way…its bad policy and bad mojo.

      I’m with you…I can’t see any value gained from keeping people in high stress positions while blitzed into numbness by psychotropics…its like a recipe for disaster…but we’ve run very short on fresh troops, and our standards have gotten pretty low with regard to what level of mental competence is required to stay in active duty. Shit…I’m still surprised Loughner never made it Afghanistan.

      • Hadrian999

        soon if that politician gets his way if any of these guys get hooked they can’t look for help or they loose their right to own a gun, nice downward spiral were looking at here

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    I’m pretty sure it means that the level of supervision over people who prescribed these drugs is minimal…but they have to have access to their pills even when professionals aren’t handy, so they receive a large prescription that will cover their tour (or at least a very long period) so that they can function without supervision or intervention longer. Either way…its bad policy and bad mojo.

    I’m with you…I can’t see any value gained from keeping people in high stress positions while blitzed into numbness by psychotropics…its like a recipe for disaster…but we’ve run very short on fresh troops, and our standards have gotten pretty low with regard to what level of mental competence is required to stay in active duty. Shit…I’m still surprised Loughner never made it Afghanistan.

  • WhiteRose

    If real evaluations were done they wouldn’t be allowed to go to combat to begin with! One of their own even went nuts at Ft. Hood, if you don’t believe the guy that’s giving out the pills that he really shouldn’t be going to war who can you trust? Sad thing on that is he never contacted that Watada guy who did get out of going.

  • WhiteRose

    If real evaluations were done they wouldn’t be allowed to go to combat to begin with! One of their own even went nuts at Ft. Hood, if you don’t believe the guy that’s giving out the pills that he really shouldn’t be going to war who can you trust? Sad thing on that is he never contacted that Watada guy who did get out of going.

    • jf

      if real evaluations were done they wouldn’t be allowed to go to combat to begin with!

      “That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.
      “It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.

  • Hadrian999

    soon if that politician gets his way if any of these guys get hooked they can’t look for help or they loose their right to own a gun, nice downward spiral were looking at here

  • jf

    if real evaluations were done they wouldn’t be allowed to go to combat to begin with!

    “That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.
    “It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.

  • Hadrian999

    that’s not entirely true, some have to some don’t combat effects different people badly. I’m a combat veteran and the only thing I had to abuse were those horse pill sized motrin, you could look at 2 different guys doing the same mission and one would be a nervous paranoid wreck and one it wouldn’t even bother, they need better ways of recognizing which guys are really close to the breaking point and helping them, when I left the service the group i was with in outprocessing had several men who had to be heavily medicated just to function and you could see how bad they were going be in the civilian world.

  • Jordan

    Considering diagnostic criteria qualify these men and women to be put on certain psychiatric medications, despite the negligence involved, they should definitely be sent home. Any other civilian would qualify for a fat disability check. But yeah, fact is, as someone else already stated, “our standards have gotten pretty low with regard to what level of mental competence is required to stay in active duty.” May as well say 20% of our troops have one leg. They’re about as useful.

  • Jordan

    Considering diagnostic criteria qualify these men and women to be put on certain psychiatric medications, despite the negligence involved, they should definitely be sent home. Any other civilian would qualify for a fat disability check. But yeah, fact is, as someone else already stated, “our standards have gotten pretty low with regard to what level of mental competence is required to stay in active duty.” May as well say 20% of our troops have one leg. They’re about as useful.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t say that every soldier does, but I know what I’m talking about. A relative works at a psych hospital in NY & received a govt contract to provide care to the vets coming home from from Iraq and Afghanistan. So many of them have become zombies. Sure, maybe some of them were zombies prior to joining the service, but they are being pumped pills like there’s no tomorrow. I feel bad for the troops at times, sometimes I don’t though b/c they made the choice to join.

  • Hadrian999

    i feel bad for the ones who did their part of the deal then get screwed by the government.

  • anon

    “Just what the hell did you mean, you bastard, when you said we couldn’t punish you?” said the corporal who could take shorthand reading from his steno pad.

    “All right,” said the colonel. “Just what the hell did you mean?”

    “I didn’t say you couldn’t punish me, sir.”

    “When,” asked the colonel.

    “When what, sir?”

    “Now you’re asking me questions again.”

    “I’m sorry, sir. I’m afraid I don’t understand your question.”

    “When didn’t you say we couldn’t punish you? Don’t you understand my question?”

    “No, sir, I don’t understand.”

    “You’ve just told us that. Now suppose you answer my question.”

    “But how can I answer it?”

    “That’s another question you’re asking me.”

    “I’m sorry, sir. But I don’t know how to answer it. I never said you couldn’t punish me.”

    “Now you’re telling us what you did say. I’m asking you to tell us when you didn’t say it.”

    Clevinger took a deep breath. “I always didn’t say you couldn’t punish me, sir.”

    “That’s much better, Mr. Clevinger, even though it’s a bare-faced lie. Didn’t you whisper that we couldn’t punish you to that other dirty son of a bitch we don’t like? What’s his name?”

    “Yossarian, sir,” Lieutenant Scheisskopf said.

    “Yes, Yossarian. That’s right. Yossarian. Yossarian? Is that his name? Yossarian? What the hell kind of name is Yossarian?”

    Lieutenant Scheisskopf had the facts at his fingertips. “It’s Yossarian’s name, sir,” he explained.

  • anon

    “Just what the hell did you mean, you bastard, when you said we couldn’t punish you?” said the corporal who could take shorthand reading from his steno pad.

    “All right,” said the colonel. “Just what the hell did you mean?”

    “I didn’t say you couldn’t punish me, sir.”

    “When,” asked the colonel.

    “When what, sir?”

    “Now you’re asking me questions again.”

    “I’m sorry, sir. I’m afraid I don’t understand your question.”

    “When didn’t you say we couldn’t punish you? Don’t you understand my question?”

    “No, sir, I don’t understand.”

    “You’ve just told us that. Now suppose you answer my question.”

    “But how can I answer it?”

    “That’s another question you’re asking me.”

    “I’m sorry, sir. But I don’t know how to answer it. I never said you couldn’t punish me.”

    “Now you’re telling us what you did say. I’m asking you to tell us when you didn’t say it.”

    Clevinger took a deep breath. “I always didn’t say you couldn’t punish me, sir.”

    “That’s much better, Mr. Clevinger, even though it’s a bare-faced lie. Didn’t you whisper that we couldn’t punish you to that other dirty son of a bitch we don’t like? What’s his name?”

    “Yossarian, sir,” Lieutenant Scheisskopf said.

    “Yes, Yossarian. That’s right. Yossarian. Yossarian? Is that his name? Yossarian? What the hell kind of name is Yossarian?”

    Lieutenant Scheisskopf had the facts at his fingertips. “It’s Yossarian’s name, sir,” he explained.

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