Veteran PTSD and Opioid Addiction Statistics

Veteran PTSD and Opioid Addiction Statistics

1 in 15 Veterans Have a Substance Abuse Disorder.

31% of Vietnam Vets Suffer from PTSD.

11% – 20% of Vets from Iraq/Afghanistan Have PTSD.

20% of Vets Suffer from Addiction to Opioids or Other Drugs.



A new JAMA report is bad news for Americans: By 2025, deaths from illicit opioid abuse are expected to skyrocket by 147%, up from 2015, according to a new study. Between 2015 and 2025, around 700,000 people are projected to die from an opioid overdose, and 80% of these will be caused by illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl.

See the PDF report here.

See the JAMA site here.

Original article: PTSD and opioid addiction are two man-made afflictions that have found each other in today’s America. The latest report from the The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) uses data reported these number in 2016, meaning the data stopped being collected at least a year ahead of that time.

While the number of 1 – 15 is not good, veterans have a lower rate that the general population. That’s 6.6% for vets and 8.6% for non-veterans. In terms of suicide, vets are just slightly above the national average. In any event, PTSD and opioids combine to make our veterans especially at risk for addiction.  It’s also important to remember that all of the numbers, especially the opioid numbers are not exact.

Battlefield and Examination Room Treatment

The VA and other reports acknowledge that physicians need better training to manage opioid treatment for veterans. Between 2001 and 2009, for example, the percentage of veterans receiving pain management with prescription narcotics increased from 17 percent to 24 percent. The number of opioid prescriptions written by military physicians more than quadrupled during that time.

Getting started on pain medication seems like a good place to examine why soldiers and veterans, just like the rest of the population, get hooked on these painkillers. From a report on the subject, we present some more statistics on what gets veterans started:

Over 20% of veterans experience back pain.

About 16% experience joint pain.

Over 25% experience migraine pain.

About 27% experience neck pain.

Approximately 34% experience both back pain and sciatica.

About 37% experience jaw pain.

With these kinds of numbers, it’s easy to see WHY vets get addicted to opioids due to PTSD and general battlefield conditions.

View and Download the ITF 2016 Annual Report

Interagency Task Force on Military and Veterans Mental Health 2016 ANNUAL REPORT Department of Defense Department of Veterans Affairs Department of Health and Human Services

While this report doesn’t deal with PTSD or Opioid addiction, is it important to note that of the estimated 20 Veterans who die by suicide each day in this country, 14 do not receive VA care. This report holds valuable information to bring that number down or get help where it’s needed.


Our Mission

About 20 veterans die by suicide every day, VA data shows. That’s nearly twice the suicide rate among Americans who did not serve in the military. Once a Soldier in on a mission to ease the financial burden of the family after a veteran suicide. Please donate to help us do more for them.

PTSD and Substance Abuse

PTSD and Substance Abuse

Coming Home to a Different Type of Danger

PTSD and substance abuse are two enemies that our veterans find themselves fighting in 2018. The combat exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan are linked, in various studies, to a sharp increase in the major mental health conditions reported in the U.S. military. Military members are returning from deployment with serious physical and mental health problems and, without the proper help provided, may attempt to self-medicate by abusing alcohol or drugs.

Substance abuse, like alcohol abuse and opioid addiction are the most common substance abuse cases in the military population. Just as the opioid epidemic is sweeping the nation, the epidemic is growing among veterans who have been prescribed these addictive drugs for injuries. Use over time can create a dependency, which can lead to a serious addiction. Over 40% of veterans suffer alcohol abuse at some point, and prescription drug abuse among military members is 2 ½ times higher than civilian rates.

In a study investigating suicide risk factors among all active duty members of the U.S. military in 2005 and 2007, it was found that suicide rates increased in every branch. A number of factors were found to coincide with the increase in suicides rates, one of which was the use of selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or other prescription drugs. While SSRIs seem to be a common treatment for PTSD and other mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, studies have shown that they may increase the risk of suicide. More research should be done to fully understand how these factors impact suicide rates, and to find solutions that may decrease the incidence of suicide.

Veteran substance abuse often coincides with post traumatic stress disorder. In order to fully recover, both disorders need to be addressed and treated. Treating the substance abuse without addressing the other mental health disorders will likely result in a relapse.

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