drug addiction

This area is especially for Veterans and their families. Offering information, help and links.

With the swelling numbers of Veterans who are returning from active duty, the need for help, useful links and support for many different issues continues to increase. Even though the focus of this website is on addiction, as I am also a caregiver for a Veteran, I have put together some, hopefully, helpful information. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for links or content.

Listen to the The American Heroes Network Radio. Subjects of interest to all Veterans. All broadcasts are archived. See logo at right.

Disabled Veterans and their Caregivers.

Many of our military personnel are returning from active duty much changed by what they have endured. Many are disabled, some permanently. These Vets. have to have caregivers and in turn those Caregivers need support.
As I know from my experience caring for Dee, a female Veteran with an 100% disability rating, caregiving can be a hard and lonely road. However, there is hope. There is a movement afoot to encourage caregivers to come forward and tell their story and to band together for common support and help. We understand that the VA cannot do it all, so we must do much for ourselves and this includes caring for the Caregiver as well as the Veteran. There are a number of excellent programs available but one in particular is geared to care for the caregiver. Here you will find a warm and welcoming group of people filling this much needed gap in care.

Operation Family Caregiver (OFC) is a free and confidential program for adult family members or friends caring for a military service member or veteran with visible or invisible (post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain) injuries or adjustment concerns. One of our coaches meets 1:1 with the same caregiver in a place of the caregivers chosing (including Skype and/or phone when not near us or that's what a caregiver prefers.) One can find additional information at Operation family caregiver or at Caregiver center.

If you are not already connected with the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), visit their website. You will find a lot of great information plus, they have offices in all states so you can locate your local office.

Veterans and Drug Abuse - A Sad Reality

It is sadly true that many Vets, whether disabled or not, will turn to street drugs in an attempt to alleviate their physical or emotional pain. (See also section on pain management below). Pain, however caused, is life changing. Drugs take that pain away if only for a brief time. Unfortunately there are consequences to using street drugs; addiction - financial strain - illness and infection - alienation from family and friends; -long-term ill effects - illegal activity and unsafe drug use practices. This is as well as the fact that street drugs are always 'cut' with some other substance and so the user never knows what they are actually putting into their body. The drug seller would be the last person to care if the user dies.

Even though illegal drug use is understandable, it is far from an ideal solution. Please use the help and suggestions on this site to assist the Vet in your life to get away from street drugs. There are other ways to cope with pain, despair, depression and PTSD.

If you are a family member or friend of a Veteran who has a drug problem, I offer a free phone consultation. Use the contact form to reach me.

Chronic Pain; Dealing with it and living with it

Many people face dealing with chronic pain every day. It is exhausting to bear and exhausting to watch someone you love be in constant pain. There are things that may help and often the best way is to research pain management yourself to find out what works for you. There are options other than heavy drugs, be they prescription or those of the illegal variety.

The VA provide some information on the management of chronic pain; check out the links below....

Post Deployment Pain Management

Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program, located in Tampa, Fla.

There is also some good information at The American Chronic Pain Association.

Suicide and Veterans - The Facts

Does anyone want to guess at the number of Vets who are committing suicide in the US? I wanted to check it out and the average number is 18 - but that is not 18 a month - or even 18 a week - but 18 a DAY! That's right, every day 18 of our brave men and women who put on a uniform and went to fight somewhere, at some time, for our country, are saying "Enough is enough. No one cares a damn about me so I am leaving".

These figures have risen steadily over the past few years. There was an attempt by the VA in the past to cover up the numbers of suicides but this was brought to light by veterans groups in 2008. Although the VA appears to be taking the number of suicides more seriously, with the huge numbers of service personnel returning from multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, much more will need to be done.

Suicide Hot Line.
If you are a Veteran or friend or family of one, you may call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1.

This issue has been brought home to me in a personal way. One of my house-mates is a disabled Veteran. Even though she was not disabled through going to Iraq or Afghanistan, she is still considered as having a 100% service related disability. Many times she has considered suicide.

I know that she is only one of thousands of hurting Veterans. In a way, her situation is better than some. She has me and another house-mate to keep an eye on her. Many Vets live alone. Some Vets are on the streets. Some are drug addicts or alcoholics. I know and understand why.

What is my hope for this? I hope that I can raise some awareness for the state our Veterans are in. I hope I can get people to ask questions in their local area - where are our Vets? Who is taking care of them? How well are they cared for? What can I do?

If even a few people stepped forward, maybe we could save a life. Even saving one life is worthwhile. Is it too much to expect that we could stop 18 Vets a day from ending theirs? The saddest part of this is that these Vets survived their time overseas, only to die on American soil.

What a national tragedy.

For a list of possible signs to watch out for, please see the page suicide on this website.

Pain + Opiates + Memory Loss can = Suicide!

I am including this section because this has touch my life. As I care for Dee, a woman Veteran with severe pain issues, I came to realize that Dee was unable to be responsible for administrating her own pain medication. She suffers from short term memory loss and thus does not remember if/when she had taken medication. After one terrifying incident where she appeared to have overdosed herself, I took over dispensing all her medication. Had she died from the overdose, I would never have been quite sure if it was accidental or intentional. That thought would have haunted me for the rest of my life.

Be alert - Be aware - Be sure.

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This page updated 2013