Essay Sample on Veterans with Addiction

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1152 Words
Date:  2022-09-25


Addiction is a major health issue in the United States. Veterans are at the highest risk of suffering from substance abuse disorders (SUDs) due to the extreme stressors they exposed at the time of service with studies suggesting that they are two times more likely to die from illicit drugs abuse and opioids overdose as compared to non-veterans(Teeters, Lancaster, Brown, & Back, 2017). Between 18 and 22 veterans commit suicide every day and the number of overdose deaths continues to rise (Olenick, Flowers, & Diaz, 2015), indicating the extent of the stress that veterans experience and how such risks expose them to addiction. However, mitigating efforts pay more attention to long-term measures such as psychotherapeutic approaches. Extensive community-based use of naloxone could be more effective in addressing the problem of addiction among veterans by providing short-term reliefs thereby creating a favorable environment for the administration of other treatments as well as facilitate recovery.

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Some argue that the use of naloxone cannot solve the problem of substance abuse and addiction to drugs. Proponents of this idea contend that naloxone does not offer long-term solutions to the problem of addiction as it is meant to provide emergency relief to addicts such as veterans when threatened with from drug overdose; naloxone is provided to block opioid receptor activation thus reversing an overdose(Teeters et al., 2017; Sansone & Sansone, 2015). As such, it provides emergency intervention and, therefore, does not address the circumstances for addiction and also the long-term health of the addicts. Additionally, since this strategy involves administration of naloxone by persons, there is a likelihood of illicit use or diverted to unintended uses which could further expose veteran addicts to overdose or even cause adverse effects (Kerensky & Walley, 2017; Sansone & Sansone, 2015). In effect, it fails to accomplish the objective of reducing deaths and enabling recovery of addicts. However, these arguments fail to acknowledge that veterans face unique challenges, including self-stigma and live in rural areas where access to health care can be problematic.

Naloxone, if administered soon enough, can reduce the risk of death as a result of addiction Prompt administration of naloxone can restore normal respiration in addicts whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a consequence of heroin or prescription overdose. In this regard, statistical evidence shows that 10, 000 overdose reversals happened between 1996 and 2010 as a result of prompt administration of naloxone with evidence indicating that states that embrace the extensive use of naloxone recorded significant reduction in death rates resulting from overdose and drug addiction (American Orthopedic Academy of Addiction Medicine, 2015). The administration is preceded by education of addicts, their associates, and families. Since veterans experience stigma (both from society and self-stigma) and live in isolated circumstances, they may not seek medication. Given this, it is beneficial to use their friends, themselves and family members to intervene at a time of a need as a way of averting death. In any case, high-risk persons like veterans would engage in drug abuse hence there is a need to for protecting their lives first before any other interventions are implemented as long-term solutions.

Contrary to the claim that naloxone can have adverse effects, little evidence exists on the extent harm of such outcome may not be as dangerous as claimed. According to Wermeling (2015), serious adverse effects of naloxone administration occur rarely. Wermeling notes that, although the safety of naloxone outside hospital settings has not been formally established, the involvement of facilitating medical professionals' interactions with families and associates of addicts can significantly reduce the potential for misuse or diversion. When communities in which veterans live and their associates are involved, there are almost zero chances of abuse of the drug, and administration through associates and community members makes it easier for medical professionals to reach veterans for carrying out treatments (Jauncey & Nielsen, 2017; Teeters et al., 2017). This means that the drug not only acts as a technique of averting deaths of veterans and also motivates veterans to interact with their communities, increasing the chances of seeking medical attention.

Naloxone can also be used to treat other mental among veterans. Administration of naloxone is not all about emergency reliefs to addicts but can also well be used to treat pain and PSTD, substance use disorders. When a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone is used in the treatment, studies suggest veterans symptoms improve in PSTD, pain and opioid use disorder significantly. (Apuganti, Turner, & Thomas, 2017; Hawkins-Simons, 2016).The reduction of pain and symptoms of PSTD indicates that the use of naloxone is not exclusive to providing emergency overdose reversals to addicts. As a result, such combination reduces treatment outcomes for veterans.


As a conclusion, the use of naloxone is beneficial to veterans. Although naloxone use is an emergency treatment for addicts, it can reduce deaths resulting from overdose. The method is often criticized because it does not offer a long-term solution to the problem of addiction among veterans. However, the literature reviewed suggests that it can be an effective way of treating veterans who live in isolated areas and also those suffering from self-stigma. Statistics indicate that administration of naloxone has reduced overdose deaths over the last two decade significantly. Prevention of deaths among veterans means a new window of opportunity is created for medical professionals and other stakeholders to reach veteran addicts and administer interventions that seek to dissuade veterans away from drugs abuse and reliance on drugs. Therefore, it is a critical strategy for addressing the problem of addiction hence should be embraced.


American Orthopedic Academy of Addiction Medicine. (2015). The use of naloxone for the prevention of opioid overdose deaths. Retrieved from

Hawkins-Simons, D. (2016). Buprenorphine offers hope to vets who suffer from PTSD, pain, SUDs. Retrieved from

Jauncey, M. E., & Nielsen, S. (2017). Community use of naloxone for opioid overdose. Australian Prescriber, 40(4), 137-140. doi:10.18773/austprescr.2017.043

Kapuganti, A., Turner, T., & Thomas, C. J. (2017). Evaluation of buprenorphine/naloxone dose and use of sedating supportive medication on treatment outcomes in veterans with opioid use disorder. Mental Health Clinician, 7(6), 271-275. doi:10.9740/mhc.2017.11.271

Kerensky, T., & Walley, A. Y. (2017). Opioid overdose prevention and naloxone rescue kits: what we know and what we don't know. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 12(1), 1-7. doi:10.1186/s13722-016-0068-3

Olenick, M., Flowers, M., & Diaz, V. (2015). US veterans and their unique issues: Enhancing health care professional awareness. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 6(2015), 635-639. doi:10.2147/amep.s89479

Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2015). Buprenorphine treatment for narcotic addiction: Not without Risks. Innovation and clinical science, 12(3/4), 32-36.

Teeters, J., Lancaster, C., Brown, D., & Back, S. (2017). Substance use disorders in military veterans: prevalence and treatment challenges. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, Volume 8, 69-77. doi:10.2147/sar.s116720

Wermeling, D. P. (2015). Review of naloxone safety for opioid overdose: practical considerations for new technology and expanded public access. Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, 6(1), 20-31. doi:10.1177/2042098614564776

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Essay Sample on Veterans with Addiction. (2022, Sep 25). Retrieved from

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