Opioid Use Putting ‘America’s Fighting Force’ at Risk

The rising prevalence of chronic pain and/or opioid use by combat military personnel in the United States is cause for serious concern, new research suggests.

In a survey of more than 2500 service members administered 3 months after they had returned from Afghanistan or Iraq, 44% reported having chronic pain, and 15% reported recent use of opioid pain relievers. In contrast, the general population has rates of 26% and 4%, respectively.

Of the veterans who had chronic pain, 56% reported daily pain and/or pain of constant frequency, and 48% reported that their pain had been ongoing for at least a year. However, 44% of those who reported using opioids had no pain or only mild pain during the past month. Access article and video.*