A dramatic rise in opioid overdose deaths among American veterans in recent years has happened mainly among veterans dying from heroin and synthetic opioids, a new study shows.
The study highlights a pressing need to find and provide care to veterans who need help for use of non-prescription opioids, whether or not they are also taking prescription opioids.
“Mental and behavioral health is a top priority of the VA, demonstrated by the major efforts around suicide prevention. But given the tremendous increase we see in opioid overdose deaths, we need to do more for overdose prevention. The VA has a robust network of substance use disorder treatment clinics. But additional efforts to expand access to medication treatment for OUD are critically needed, including newer delivery strategies such as through telemedicine.