The Iraq war on drugs

In These Times
by Terry J. Allen

05/29/06

Wounded U.S. soldiers are being patched up and returned to battle before they are healed. The wounds in this case are to the psyche, caused by the trauma and horror that are as integral to war as guns and death. In Iraq and Afghanistan, when 'suck it up' fails to snap a soldier out of depression or panic, the Army turns to drugs. 'Soldiers I talked to were receiving bags of antidepressants and sleeping meds in Iraq, but not the trauma care they needed,' says Steve Robinson, a Defense Department intelligence analyst during the Clinton administration. Sometimes sleeping pills, antidepressants and tranquilizers are prescribed by qualified personnel. Sometimes not. Sgt. Georg Anderas Pogany told Salon that after he broke down in Iraq, his team sergeant told him 'to pull himself together, gave him two Ambien, a prescription sleep aid, and ordered him to sleep.' Other soldiers self-medicate. 'We were so junked out on Valium, we had no emotions anymore,' Iraq vet John Crawford told 'Fresh Air' host Terry Gross. He and others in his unit in Iraq became addicted to Valium...

//www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2670/


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