The lower 2018 numbers represented the first decline in U.S. drug overdose deaths in three decades and policymakers had hoped the decline marked a turn-around or plateau in annual drug-related deaths.
The rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may be up to 15 times higher in the military population than it is in the general population, which likely explains in part the prevalence of substance use disorder in the military. Consequently, when people see or hear the term PTSD, they likely think of veterans.
Opioid deaths have increased steadily over the past several years. Reports of the opioid crisis or the opioid epidemic appear in the media on an almost daily basis. Overdose deaths from another source have been steadily rising as well but have received very little media attention. Benzodiazepines, once considered an extremely safe medication, are resulting in higher rates of drug addiction and are being implicated in overdose deaths, especially when used in conjunction with opioids.
Many people abuse more than one substance and have what is commonly referred to as polysubstance or polydrug abuse. Sometimes people abuse different substances to intentionally create different reactions. Certain substances make them feel better or give them a “high”, while other substances cause sedation and help them relax or sleep.
Unfortunately, the prescriptions for anti-anxiety medication have a high potential for abuse. Many people innocently go to their doctor for a solution to their anxiety and have no idea that they will become physically, mentally and emotionally dependent on the very thing that was meant to give them freedom.