Opiate Use in the Military Context
Active Duty military personnel have been relatively unaffected by the national opioid epidemic. The Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) opioid overdose death rate is roughly one-fourth of the national rate, and its rate of opioid use disorders is likewise low in all cohorts save for retirees and their dependents. In response to the national crisis, the DoD and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) teamed to adopt a proactive multi-faceted prevention strategy that was widely implemented across agencies by 2018. Aims in the clinical management of acute and chronic pain include avoiding or minimizing opiate use, fostering complementary and integrative pain management techniques, adhering to pain assessment and management standards for accreditation of hospitals, deploying a Stepped Care Model for the management of pain, and mandating that the DoD and VHA equip first responders with opioid overdose reversal capability.
KeywordsOpiates Military Department of Defense Veterans Health Administration Pain management Evidence-based principles Overdose reversal Naloxone Stepped-Care Model
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