The problems continue for the VA.
A federal investigation released on Wednesday found that many wounded veterans are being overmedicated in VA hospitals. The problem is so prevalent that some overdoses have been fatal.
The Inspector General in the Department of Veterans Affairs discovered the problem is widespread.
Key findings of the VA IG’s report include:
• Only 9 percent of VA patients taking narcotics were seen by a pain clinic.
• Ninety-three percent of long-term narcotics patients were also on a sedative called benzodiazepine. When mixed, the two drugs put patients at an increased risk of fatal overdose.
• Less than half of narcotics patients on multiple drugs had their medications reviewed by VA staff.
CBS Evening News interviewed Lance Corporal Jeremy Brooking to discuss the problem:
Lance Corporal Jeremy Brooking was just 19, a Marine serving in Iraq, when a sniper’s bullet tore through his chest in 2007.
“I actually died twice,” he says. “They brought me back to life.”
But Brooking says his real nightmare began when he got back home to Indiana. He says the most dangerous place on earth turned out to be the VA.
The VA’s answer for his physical and mental trauma was drugs — lots of them.
“Twenty-three different types of pills, easily over 100 different pills a day — most of those were narcotics, anxiety meds and sleeping meds,” Brooking says, noting he was sleeping 23 of 24 hours in the day.
“I’d wake up, eat, sleep and take more pills,” he says.