On July 29, 2015, a group of panelists gathered to discuss advancing treatment, prevention, and recovery for Veterans and Service members struggling with substance abuse. The event, the fifth in the Congressional Addiction Forum series hosted by the Addiction Policy Forum, featured remarks from leading experts and a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders, including Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH), Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), and Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA).
Opioid prescriptions have risen dramatically over the past 20 years and the “silent epidemic” that has followed is indiscriminant in its movement throughout the nation. Approximately 16,000 Americans are lost to an overdose of opioid painkillers each year, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the unprecedented reach of the problem, veterans remain more likely than their civilian counterparts to abuse prescription drugs, and the most commonly abused medications by service members are opioid pain relievers.