Source: The Military Times
By Andrew Tilghman and Brendan McGarry - Staff writers
Posted : Tuesday Sep 7, 2010 15:57:18 EDT
It happens on average once every five days — an active-duty service member is found dead from an accidental drug or alcohol overdose.
And the number has roughly tripled since 2001, a Military Times investigation has found.
The fatalities, mostly involving prescription medications, come at a time when military prescription drug use is soaring. Many troops are taking multiple drugs simultaneously. Orders for common pain and psychiatric medications nearly doubled from 2001 through 2009, according to Defense Logistics Agency data. And the Army on July 29 reported that the amount of stimulants prescribed to soldiers more than doubled from fiscal 2006 through 2009.
Death records show the military reported at least 68 accidental drug deaths in 2009, up from 24 in 2001. In total, at least 430 troops have died from drug use — or, in a small number of cases, alcohol use - during the past decade.
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