Defense secretary to investigate Army bases' prescription drug abuse

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 | 2:37 p.m. CST; updated 3:21 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he will investigate problems with growing prescription drug abuse at Fort Leonard Wood and other Army bases.

Gates told Sen. Claire McCaskill Tuesday morning that he would be "happy to look into" the problem. The Missouri Democrat asked about the issue at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Army records show that legal painkiller use by injured troops has increased nearly 70 percent since the start of the Iraq war six years ago. Surveys show that more soldiers are struggling with prescription drug addiction while also seeking help from Army doctors and counselors.

Eight soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood were convicted by court martial in 2008 of illegal drug use or distribution. Five more await trial on similar charges.


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Charles Dudley Jr January 27, 2009 | 4:00 p.m.

I feel so bad for those soldiers addicted to drugs. It is a total tragedy to be in constant pain and not getting total relief so they just do more and more to try and get rid of the constant pain. I hope that all soldiers get the help they need to over come this disease of drug addiction.

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