How Quickly Opioid Use Can Affect Veterans

At a first glance you might not think of a veteran after reading this article, however, I believe the following article serves as a huge wake up call & a need to open the conversation about veterans who having become homeless, possibly from opioid use.

This article hits home for me as I have personally felt the effects of being over-medicated when that shouldn’t of been the first nor the last solution to dealing with PTSD. We are sharing this to keep getting the word out there about the opioid epidemic and how closely it effects our Veterans. 

 Veterans has been coming home way before the Post 9/11 Veterans and dealing with the effects of war, resulting in being heavily medicated. Our first natural instinct as veterans is to go to the VA. Now this is just my opinion from my own personal experience and a recurring theme after speaking with veterans, we talk to a doctor about what we are feeling and... Boom! You are prescribed a handful of different medications. Now I’m a realist, I believe in Western medication and sometimes people need to be prescribed something, however there are dozens of holistic and natural ways to deal with the underlying effects from war. After years of continuing research into the many programs out there, Backpacks For Life has been advocating for programs like floatation therapy, fly tying & fishing, hiking, meditation, retreats, equine therapy, drug and alcohol counseling, and most importantly peer to peer mentorship. These are just some of the programs we've discovered in learning that veterans are in need of something more than what comes inside of a bottle. 

Not to drag on but what we are trying to tell you is please be careful of what you are getting prescribed. I’m not saying to stop taking medicine, but maybe get a second opinion from another doctor who specializes in a more holistic approach. 

- Brett, Founder of Backpacks For Life


Sessions Announces Charges For 601 People In Largest Health Care Fraud Bust In History

9:53 PM 06/29/2018

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter


Federal officials are charging 601 people, including more than 100 medical workers, for fueling opioid addiction in the largest bust of health care fraud in U.S. history.

The Department of Justice revealed the charges Thursday, which were brought as part of an annual effort to dismantle schemes across the country involved in scamming health care programs. The takedown included the arrest of 76 doctors, 23 pharmacists, 19 nurses and several hundred others involved in prescribing and distributing massive quantities of opioid medications, resulting in more than $2 billion in fraudulent costs to federal health care programs and insurers, reports NBC News.

In one example, the owner of a Texas-based pharmacy chain and two co-conspirators filled scripts for more than 1 million oxycodone and hydrocodone pills, which were subsequently transferred to couriers for sale on the street. (RELATED: Pain Clinic CEO Charged In $200 Million Opioid Fraud Scheme That Bought Him Mansion, Exotic Cars)

“Much of this fraud is related to our ongoing opioid crisis—which is the deadliest drug epidemic in American history,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Some of our most trusted medical professionals look at their patients—vulnerable people suffering from addiction—and they see dollar signs.”

The Department of Justice under Sessions is making progress in the fight against both smugglers and medical providers taking advantage of the national opioid epidemic. Federal authorities have charged nearly 200 doctors for criminal activity linked to opioid medications since January 2017, along with 220 medical workers.

Drug overdose deaths surged in 2016 by 21 percent, claiming more than 64,000 lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increase is driven primarily by opioids, which claimed 42,249 lives in 2016, a 28 percent increase over the roughly 33,000 lives lost to opioids in 2015.

Deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl, a painkiller roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, experienced a particularly dramatic increase, more than doubling from 9,580 lives in 2015 to 19,413 lives in 2016.

The epidemic is contributing to declining life expectancy in the U.S., officials say. Life expectancy dropped for the second consecutive year in 2016 for the first time since an outbreak of influenza in 1962 and 1963.