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“Warrior Transition”

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The Times is out today with an excellent article on the military’s so-called “Warrior Transition Units”, wherein our traumatized soldiers who return from Iraq and Afghanistan can “unwind” in warehouses across the country. They’re given free drugs and told not to think about things so much. There are, of course, too many ex-soldiers who have been permanently scarred by the things they saw on duty to adequately counsel all of them, but the military makes up for it in painkillers, anti-depressants, and sleeping pills.

The article has some pretty juicy examples:

He was prescribed a laundry list of medications for anxiety, nightmares, depression and headaches that made him feel listless and disoriented. His once-a-week session with a nurse case manager seemed grossly inadequate to him. And noncommissioned officers — soldiers supervising the unit — harangued or disciplined him when he arrived late to formation or violated rules.

Oh, and:

Sgt. John Conant, a 15-year veteran of the Army, returned from his second tour of Iraq in 2007 a changed man, according to his wife, Delphina. Angry and sullen, he reported to the transition unit at Fort Carson, where he was prescribed at least six medications a day for sleeping disorders, pain and anxiety, keeping a detailed checklist in his pocket to remind him of his dosages.

“They didn’t want to do anything but give him medication,” she said.

Also:

“These kids change their medication like they change their underwear,” said a psychotherapist who works with Fort Carson soldiers and asked that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the transition unit. “They can’t even remember which pills they’re taking.”

Two points emerge which The Times clearly hints at, but doesn’t come out and say:

1) These cases are bound to happen when you force 18-year-old kids fresh out of high school to travel to a godforsaken desert they know nothing about, kill people for basically no reason, watch their best friends die, and come home to a country that barely even knows they’re at war.

2) There has to be some kind of agreement with the pharmaceutical industry at work here to defraud taxpayers. We’re prescribing these kids pills like they’re candy, and there’s hardly any evidence as to these drugs’ efficacy. How much is the pharmaceutical industry making off of these prescription-happy doctors and the taxpayers who are footing the bill?

Those two points aside, a really excellent effort out of The New York Times.

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Written by pavanvan

April 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Posted in War

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