Payments by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the decade after 9/11 went to grieving families, ranging from Iraq War veterans who committed suicide after being turned away from mental health treatment to botched surgeries and fatal neglect of elderly veterans.
On the eve of a congressional hearing about the Department of Veterans Affairs’ skyrocketing use of narcotic painkillers, a former VA doctor has stepped forward with new allegations about the agency’s prescription practices.
Pain medication prescribed by the VA was supposed to mute one soldier’s chronic back pain, which began after he helped in the 9/11 rescue effort at the Pentagon. Instead, he said, the drugs turned him into an addict.
The Center for Investigative Reporting analyzed 12 years of prescription drug data from the VA, and found that since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the agency charged with helping veterans is instead masking their pain with potent drugs, and feeding their addictions.
Department of Veterans Affairs physicians told a House subcommittee that hospital administrators regularly pressured them to prescribe highly addictive narcotic painkillers to patients, even those they had not personally examined.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki stepped down today, but his replacement will face an uphill battle in addressing the health care and veterans benefits scandals plaguing the agency.