Military Review

The fate of American veterans: the reverse side of the coin

The fate of American veterans: the reverse side of the coin

In the photo - Kimberly Mitchell. She cries at the grave of her husband, Chad Mitchell. Chad was born in 1969, went to war in Iraq, survived, but in 2010 he died from a drug overdose and found eternal rest in the Houston national cemetery.

Chad is one of hundreds of Texan soldiers who died not in the war zone but found their deaths at home. The results of the semi-annual study It is said that war veterans die in America from suicide, car accidents and overdoses, which in many cases can also be considered unproved acts of suicide. These people survived on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, write American journalists, but did not survive the return home.

The “Statesman” study paints a dark and tragic picture of the fate of those Texan soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, who died after being discharged from military service. A large number and a significant proportion of former soldiers who died from drug overdose, prescribed by a doctor, or from toxic combinations of narcotic drugs, suggests that the federal authorities of the country are either unable to adequately monitor the situation or are in no hurry to respond.

The study carefully analyzed the causes of death for 266 Texas veterans involved in the "Enduring Freedom" and "Iraqi Freedom" operations. The sources were autopsy reports, toxicology reports, inquiry reports, reports from the accident site and documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Obituaries were also studied, and relatives were interviewed. This is how the “Statesman” pulled into the light what was hiding in the shadows until now.

It was found that:

- More than one in three veterans died from a drug overdose, a lethal combination of different drugs, or outright suicide. Their average age at death was 28 years;

- Almost every fifth veteran died in a car accident.

For those veterans who were registered with the primary diagnosis of post-traumatic stress, the indicators are much more alarming: 80% died from an overdose, suicide or in a car accident (in the latter case, one person). And only two of 46 diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder died from the disease.

It turns out that many veterans in Texas have committed suicide by taking prescription drugs containing hard drugs. Often they were taken along with strong painkillers. Former military men are considered to be a particularly vulnerable group of people who are inclined to take such drugs.

The investigation “Statesman” is a tragic mosaic made up of pain, despair and hopelessness.

40-year-old Chad mitchell, participant in seven overseas operations, settled in Austin after resigning from the Navy fleet. He died in September 2010. About half a dozen prescription drugs were found in his body, including sedative drugs and powerful painkillers oxycodone and methadone (all this was prescribed to him in a private clinic). Mitchell suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, chest pain from surgery and nerve pain in his shoulder after a wound received in Iraq.

Justin langvis, veteran of the war in Iraq, 31 year. He shot himself in January 2011 at Fort Hood. This man was a military doctor during the fighting in Fallujah and Najaf and survived the explosion of an improvised explosive device (he was wounded). The study also notes that several soldiers from his unit died during the deployment, and their names are also engraved on the memorial wall, where the name of Langvis, who committed suicide, stands.

24-year-old Paul Norris killed, lost control of the Honda Civic: crashed into a stone wall along the street in El Paso. According to the police report, Norris exceeded the speed. And his father said that his son, as a rule, drove the car carefully, but, probably, behind the wheel of him, memories of Iraq again overcame ...

Statistics on American veterans is incomplete. The fact is that not all veterans are registered. In the course of the study, for example, an 44-year-old veteran was identified who retired from the Navy in 2007 and was buried in the cemetery for the poor of Travis County. He shot himself. In his apartment, the police found an almost empty bottle of rum and a thirty-eight caliber pistol dropped from his hand.

As a result, eleven years after the troops entered Afghanistan and two years after the end of hostilities in Iraq, the American people still do not know how their former soldiers who have returned home die. There is no government agency in America that would deal with the fate of hundreds of thousands of veterans who are not registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) - which is almost half of all former military personnel who returned from recent wars. As for death certificates, they can also underestimate the number of suicides, including from drug overdoses. So say the experts.

Critics are skeptical that the VA will (and will) do a large-scale analysis and give the public a complete picture of the causes of death of American veterans.

But a few years ago, the Bay Citizen organization in San Francisco told the press that, according to 2007, more soldiers who returned were killed at home than in battles.

Lance Pilgrim, an army veteran, was one of the first soldiers to participate in the Iraqi operation in 2003. He died from an 18 August overdose on 2007, just six days before his 27 anniversary. He wrote this letter a couple of years ago, telling it in detail how he left his favorite service and for several months felt like an “empty place”

The Statesman study also showed that among the Texas veterans who have not been in Iraq or Afghanistan for a long time, there are a small number of those who in VA are still mistakenly considered parties to conflicts.

Here are some data from a Texan study.

47 veterans of 266 died from an overdose of drugs or toxic drug combinations; 40 of them - after taking the medicine prescribed by the doctor. Five overdoses of heroin or cocaine have been reported. One died of aerosol, another one of Ecstasy. In addition to seven, all those who died of drugs were younger than 35 years. The first of these died 23-year-old army veteran from the Houston area. Cause of death: overdose of cocaine, hydrocodone and alprazolam (better known as "Xanax"). He died two years later after taking part in one of the first Iraqi operations.

45 veterans from 266 committed suicide; 32 of them are younger than 35 years. The veteran who participated in 2003 in the Iraqi operation, the 26-year-old native of North Texas, died first. He committed suicide in 2005. (Researchers claim that the current number of suicides may be higher, because medical examiners and justices of the peace often do not want to declare an overdose as a method of suicide: this has not been fully proven).

More 50 veterans, or 18% of their total number, died in car accidents, and 35 of them were accidents with one vehicle. About half of the veterans exceeded the speed when drunk.

Researchers believe that their analysis provides an unprecedented picture of death, which mows veterans who have returned home. As for the department, the VA really does not represent how bad everything is.

And those who work closely with veterans say that the Statesman figures look familiar to them.

However, VA implements some programs. Now it is planned to introduce new treatment programs, correct protocols for prescription drugs and conduct relevant research on pain and post-traumatic stress disorders, as well as on other problems of veterans of recent conflicts. The department spends about $ 70 million per year on suicide prevention and plans to increase funding annually (up to 2014 per year). VA's total mental health budget has grown from 2009, by 39%, to about 6 billions of dollars.

However, it is believed that all this is not enough. After all, a complete assessment of the mental health of veterans (more than in 9 from 10 cases) is carried out only once - during the first 14 days after the soldier returns home, as required by the Department’s policy.

In 2010, 22-year-old Clint Dickey drove from Wako College Station to a meeting with a VA representative. An indifferent doctor prescribed him for back pain caused by trauma in Afghanistan, the pills that should have been taken 4-6 weeks. The veteran died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs after a few days. His widow, Samantha, suspects that the pain made her husband feel so bad that he got oxycodone without a prescription. “If he had not been ignored, he would never have reached the point,” she said.

In the summer of 2012, VA announced that it would hire 1600 new doctors.

Potent drugs pose a risk of death for veterans. Doctors VA over the past ten years have written much more prescriptions for powerful painkillers - only vacation in pharmacies hydrocodone, bought by veterans, in the period from 2001 to 2011. jumped more than six times. These drugs are addictive, especially strong in the young. Nearly a quarter of veterans, according to 2010, were given opiates by prescription.

And in conclusion - two more terrible numbers:

3.800.000: this is the number of prescriptions for narcotic pain pills prescribed by military doctors to patients in 2009;

420.000: this is the number of 5 veterans of millions of people who participated in different wars, received treatment from VA physicians and have substance abuse problems (2010).

Observed and translated by Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for

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  1. snek
    snek 6 October 2012 10: 42
    Artfully written material.
    more than one out of every three veterans died of an overdose of drugs, a lethal combination of different drugs, or direct suicide. Their average age at the time of death was 28 years;

    It would be correct to say "every third death out of 266 considered was caused by an overdose." And it turns out that in general every third veteran. True, it goes down below about this, but here the principle "and the sediment remained."
    And if in fact, we are talking about post-traumatic stress disorder, which in relation to combatants is often called a syndrome: "Vietnamese syndrome", "Iraqi syndrome", "Chechen syndrome",
    1. Bismark
      Bismark 15 October 2012 22: 21
      Each coin has a downside!
  2. Kochetkov.serzh
    Kochetkov.serzh 6 October 2012 10: 55
    Unclear all this is like that. And why are they talking only about Texas ??
    1. Mart
      6 October 2012 11: 07
      Because they were doing research in Texas. Read the text carefully. And even this study alone spent half a year.
  3. revnagan
    revnagan 6 October 2012 12: 08
    Katyuz_ according to the desires.
  4. Centaurus
    Centaurus 6 October 2012 14: 23
    I have a dual impression of the article.
    On the one hand, I am very sorry for Kimberly Mitchell, on the other hand, I have suspicions that either the former military is greatly tormented by a sense of guilt, in this case, one should think about what they did there in the war, that they didn't want to live. Or, that the same is not unlikely, who cleans up the traces and removes "politically" unreliable soldiers.
    1. Pimply
      Pimply 6 October 2012 17: 25
      This is common post-traumatic stress. It happens not only with American soldiers, but also with most people experiencing critical situations.
      1. Centaurus
        Centaurus 6 October 2012 20: 31
        It is good that in the Soviet Army in World War II there were no narcotic drugs, at least free mass access for soldiers and officers.
        1. Pimply
          Pimply 7 October 2012 00: 06
          There was vodka - why are you not a drug. Destructive property no less. Do you know how much trouble has been done on it?
          1. Raiven
            Raiven 7 October 2012 23: 14
            and when you consider that the soldiers were drunk before the attack
  5. B_KypTke
    B_KypTke 6 October 2012 14: 41
    Sticks ... such sticks.
  6. Uncle
    Uncle 6 October 2012 14: 49
    I think that our statistics would not be better if studies were conducted and published. Afghanistan and Chechnya are serious trials. My friend who passed Chechnya, an officer, quit the Armed Forces. I managed to get off drugs, I didn’t ask which one, now lives at the monastery, married, 1 children. Only thanks to God acclimatized. And the other after the Afghan sticks out tightly, but is still alive. He did not create a family, he just lives and suffers. I think the reason for suicides is the loss of the meaning of life, if it had a meaning, they once had. In worldly life there is only dirt and vice, man is a wolf to man, and they do not know another in America. So it turns out that they have no way out, only in the loop. Oh, poor fellow.
  7. DNA
    DNA 6 October 2012 15: 19
    In any country where there are war veterans, there are problems with them and, most importantly, with their rehabilitation. It is worth remembering their Afghans how many were drunk as a result of psychological trauma, and no one has rehabilitated them. You shouldn’t make fun of them.
  8. Kolyan 2
    Kolyan 2 6 October 2012 17: 21
    I feel sorry for those who could not find themselves in life after Chechnya and other points. But !!! A person must be strong in spirit and I know many who have gone through all the wars and remained a MAN.
    1. Centaurus
      Centaurus 6 October 2012 20: 32
      Yeah. And they are all Russian. So the American military has no chance.
  9. wolverine7778
    wolverine7778 6 October 2012 17: 35
    There is a certain type of military that, in conditions, has not adapted to the horrors of war, even if it was an American setentric in Iraq or Afghanistan with close contacts or some other power leading to moral degradation of a person in one form or another, the only thing you need to perceive is reality, better with prayer in the Almighty helps a lot, if the unbeliever of course, then booze, but aggravates it even more, but why eat all kinds of pills to shit, they bring the current to suicides)
  10. biglow
    biglow 6 October 2012 19: 48
    everyone forgets about the veterans of the great Patriotic war. They also went through hell and survived and lifted the country from ruins. Maybe the whole thing is motivation for life
    1. Pimply
      Pimply 7 October 2012 00: 09
      Then did not conduct research on post-injury.
      1. Bismark
        Bismark 15 October 2012 22: 24
        Then the ideology was such that any post-injury was broken in half.
  11. crambol
    crambol 6 October 2012 20: 21
    Quote: biglow
    Maybe it's all about motivation for life

    Motivation for life is a vital thing for people who have gone through hell. Unfortunately, not everyone can stand it.
    Children who returned from the Great Patriotic War were given the opportunity to enter universities without competitions and exams. This is where the horror began - suicides, mental disorders, unexpected cruelty. The war continued to collect tribute.
    I witnessed the incident back in the 46th in Chernivtsi. Young officers arranged a "get-together" for some reason. One lieutenant went out on the porch to smoke. He smoked and fired a bullet in the temple.
    Damn the war and all those who are trying to impose it on us!
  12. peter-tank
    peter-tank 6 October 2012 21: 24
    I read the article and thought ... Or maybe their nation is simply psychologically unstable at the genetic level? I am an officer. Himself, in total, about 3 years he served in the combat zone in the Chechen Republic. I was seriously wounded, I have military awards. Dozens of officers (from lieutenant to major general), hundreds of soldiers, sergeants and warrant officers have served before my eyes. In reality, only one officer had a slight "headache" and he was discharged for health reasons. And then it happened against the background of excessive alcohol consumption + unhealthy passion for religion.
    Of course, they drank to relieve stress, and drank well, but ....
    Now many officers who have passed the "hot spots" are serving with me. None of them are taking depressants or any other drugs.
    We are probably stronger in spirit.
    If their soldiers have such mental problems after they "... survived on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan ..."what will happen to them after a real serious mess. Although ... Vietnam showed everything.
    1. roninas
      roninas 6 October 2012 22: 21
      I agree one hundred percent. And I saw the guys who fought, and I myself had a good luck, not, of course, like in Chechnya, but still. It was difficult for the first time, and then you let go of it all, and you live on because life goes on, and it makes no sense to remain in the memories
    2. Uncle
      Uncle 6 October 2012 22: 25
      Quote: piter-tank
      In reality, only one officer had a little "lost his mind" and was discharged for health reasons.

      Two people worked in our campaign, conscripts from the Chechen Republic, one said that for a year he interfered with sleeping at home, and screamed at night. The other became gloomy, holding himself in his hands.
    3. Pimply
      Pimply 7 October 2012 00: 11
      Because how to take antidepressants in Russia is generally considered - to recognize yourself as a psycho. The culture is like that. Keep everything in yourself. The disease does not become less from this.
      And flash-backs, and bukhalovo, and drugs - everything is there, all the same symptoms.
    4. Raiven
      Raiven 7 October 2012 23: 17
      what is their nation? The immigrants are alone, different nations and races in one bottle, and the standard of living there is higher, we have at least prepared for adversity from birth
  13. sergant89
    sergant89 6 October 2012 22: 46
    no need to laugh and gloat about the soldiers, because we have no better, just no one has conducted these studies, upon arrival from the war there is a feeling of emptiness, worthlessness, goals and values ​​in life disappear, everything seems fake fake, and that dirt, blood , cold, friends are really honest and right in life, someone can step over it, someone not, somehow.
    1. Shumer
      Shumer 7 October 2012 12: 22
      Surely the research is carried out, just the data is kept secret, or it limits the circle of organizations and persons to whom this data is available.
  14. The gentleman
    The gentleman 8 October 2012 16: 23
    here you have the care of your heroes, here’s the medical insurance of the military. Of course, these are soldiers who follow orders and I think this is not only in the states ...