The New York Times has reported some findings that shouldn't be surprising to anyone who sees too much punishment and not enough treatment in our ongoing War on Drugs: even American troops with drug abuse problems aren't getting the help they need.
Despite a well-documented increase in the abuse of alcohol and prescription medications among military personnel over the past decade, the Defense Department’s strategies for screening, treating and preventing those problems remains behind the times, a major new report finds. ...
The report noted that while rates of illicit and prescription drug abuse are relatively low, the rate of medication misuse — particularly of opioid pain killers — has risen sharply: 11 percent of active-duty personnel reported misusing prescription drugs in 2008, up from 2 percent in 2002.
Such prescription-drug abuse is rising faster within the military than among civilians, and is perhaps more common than the use of illegal drugs like cocaine or marijuana. Yet the military’s drug-testing regimen, created in the post-Vietnam era, continues to focus on certain illegal drugs that may not be the main problem anymore, the 14-member panel concluded.Also problematic: many soldiers don't seek treatment because of the stigma attached to doing so.