This is an interesting article that explores and talks about our military today and some of the medications used, while in service, some that even the FAA consider to dangerous for commercial pilots to use. Granted by all means, serving in the military on front lines is probably one of the most stressful places to be, but what is the real toll taken with soldiers. We all remember Viet Nam with drugs, and at that point there were not many prescription options so most were illegal, but today, the military has legal prescription drugs to offer.
Just like we have here as civilians, they have side effect too and how this combines with battleground duty is what is questioned here in the area of anti-anxiety drugs. Does it dull the senses and create hallucinations? What happens when it runs out and there is no drug available? This one particular soldier was given Seroquel which is used to treat bi-polar disease and it had a not so good affect. Last year a Wall Street executive filed suit over the side effects he encountered with the drug.
War is tough and hard enough, so are anti-psychotic drugs making it better or worse is the overall question. BD
Marine Corporal Michael Cataldi woke as he heard the truck rumble past.
He opened his eyes, but saw nothing. It was the middle of the night, and he was facedown in the sands of western Iraq. His loaded M16 was pinned beneath him.
Cataldi had no idea how he'd gotten to where he now lay, some 200 meters from the dilapidated building where his buddies slept. But he suspected what had caused this nightmare: His Klonopin prescription had run out.
His ordeal was not all that remarkable for a person on that anti-anxiety medication. In the lengthy labeling that accompanies each prescription, Klonopin users are warned against abruptly stopping the medicine, since doing so can cause psychosis, hallucinations, and other symptoms. What makes Cataldi's story extraordinary is that he was a U. S. Marine at war, and that the drug's adverse effects endangered lives — his own, his fellow Marines', and the lives of any civilians unfortunate enough to cross his path.
According to data from a U. S. Army mental-health survey released last year, about 12 percent of soldiers in Iraq and 15 percent of those in Afghanistan reported taking antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or sleeping pills. Prescriptions for painkillers have also skyrocketed. Data from the Department of Defense last fall showed that as of September 2007, prescriptions for narcotics for active-duty troops had risen to almost 50,000 a month, compared with about 33,000 a month in October 2003, not long after the Iraq war began.
In other words, thousands of American fighters armed with the latest killing technology are taking prescription drugs that the Federal Aviation Administration considers too dangerous for commercial pilots.
Cataldi says he managed on the medications — until his Klonopin ran out. The medical officer told him there was no Klonopin anywhere in Iraq. So the officer gave him a drug called Seroquel. That's when Cataldi says he started to become "loopy."
"I'd go to pick up a wrench and come back with a hammer," he says. "I wasn't able to do my job. I wasn't able to fight."