Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Veterans' mental health correlates with painkiller use in study

LOS ANGELES — Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an increased risk of mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Now a new study finds these individuals are also more likely to receive opioid pain prescriptions and to misuse those drugs.

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, creates a picture of escalating problems for veterans who come back from war with emotional and physical problems. The study examined 141,029 veterans of the recent wars after their return home. Among them, 15,676 were prescribed opioid painkillers for 20 or more consecutive days.

But the study showed that 17.8 percent of vets with PTSD received the drugs compared with 11.7 percent of vets with mental health diagnoses but not PTSD and 6.5 percent of vets with no mental health diagnosis.

The study also showed that the vets with PTSD and a substance-use disorder were most likely to be prescribed opioids compared with vets with no mental health disorder — 33.5 percent compared with 6.5 percent.

The research points to the need for doctors to use caution when treating veterans who need pain relief but who also have mental health or substance-use disorders. Even in the civilian population, abuse of opioid medications has skyrocketed, with increased rates of addiction and overdose deaths. But, the authors noted: "Most (Department of Veterans Affairs) primary care clinicians lack specialized training in the management of comorbid pain and PTSD."

Comments
“External operator” is on deck to help seven troubled Hillsborough schools if they need it.

“External operator” is on deck to help seven troubled Hillsborough schools if they need it.

An Indiana-based nonprofit organization that operates charter schools has been tapped as the "external operator" that Hillsborough County might bring in to work with seven struggling schools. Phalen Leadership Academies was chosen in a competitive bi...
Updated: 1 minute ago
Former TV investigative reporter Mike Deeson sues Tampa over CFO’s address

Former TV investigative reporter Mike Deeson sues Tampa over CFO’s address

Mike Deeson might have retired from the local television news, but he isn't done with reporting. And he says he's following up on a story that he's chased since 2012: Does Sonya Little, the city's chief financial officer, live in the city as required...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Bed bugs found in books at Brandon library branch

Bed bugs found in books at Brandon library branch

BRANDON — The unwelcome appearance of a lowly insect is forcing county officials to close the Brandon library branch for three days.No, not bookworms. Bed bugs.The county is bringing in a pest control company to inspect and treat the 25,000-square fo...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

PORT CHARLOTTE — Tropicana Field is getting new turf — again.Shaw Sports will replace the surface installed last spring in a mutual decision with the Rays that it did not look as good — from the stands or on TV — as expected.T...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Bucs release defensive tackle Chris Baker

Bucs release defensive tackle Chris Baker

Hours after they parted ways with running back Doug Martin, the Bucs continued their initial wave of roster cuts Tuesday afternoon, releasing defensive tackle Chris Baker.Baker, 30, lasted only one season with Tampa Bay, managing just a half-sack aft...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Syria’s starved, rebellious suburb under attack

Syria’s starved, rebellious suburb under attack

BEIRUT — The airstrikes came at a rate of one a minute, with horrible results: civilians fleeing collapsing buildings, children trapped under slabs of concrete, paramedics grimly rushing the bloodied victims away on stretchers. At least 100 people we...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Trump calls for ban on gun devices like bump stocks

Trump calls for ban on gun devices like bump stocks

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he has signed a memo directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to "ban all devices" like bump stocks used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre.The president is making the announcement to curb the us...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Florida House rejects considering ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines

Florida House rejects considering ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines

A move to push a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines directly to the House floor Tuesday afternoon was rejected on mostly party lines, less than a week after a school shooting in Broward County killed 17 people and injured severa...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Tampa Bay’s mayors frustrated on gun control by state lawmakers

Tampa Bay’s mayors frustrated on gun control by state lawmakers

The mayors of Tampa Bay's three largest cities say state lawmakers have stripped them of the power they need to assure their residents are safe from gun violence."People are worried after Parkland, and rightfully so," said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick K...
Updated: 21 minutes ago

Editorial cartoons for Feb. 21

These cartoons are from various Times wire services.
Updated: 25 minutes ago