Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and the Global War on Terrorism since 2001.

(2) Substance use disorders are chronic diseases that can be prevented, treated, and managed effectively. Failure to prevent or treat these conditions results in severe and widespread consequences, including increased risk of suicide, exacerbation of mental and physical health disorders, increased risk of domestic violence and family discord, and increased risk of unemployment and homelessness.

(3) According to the 2005 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Personnel, 24 percent of the members of the Armed Forces surveyed reported symptoms of alcohol dependence and nearly 11 percent of the members surveyed reported use of an illicit drug. Misuse of controlled prescription drugs, particularly narcotic painkillers, is a significant and growing problem among members of the Armed Forces as well.

(4) Substance abuse disorders often co-occur with other health problems. According to the 2007 Report of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, 17 percent of soldiers from brigade combat teams are at risk of developing clinically significant symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, or anxiety after deployment, and an even higher percentage of such soldiers, 28 percent, would experience symptoms based upon broader screening criteria. The prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder within a year of combat deployment was estimated to range from 10 to 25 percent.

(5) According to the 2007 Report of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, symptoms of disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder often include complex disinhibitory behaviors such as self-medicating with alcohol, other medications, or illicit drugs in an attempt to return to ‘normalcy’.

(6) According to the 2007 Report of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, of the 686,306 veterans separated from active duty between 2002 and December 2006 who were eligible for care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, 229,015 (or 33 percent) accessed care at a Department facility. Of those veterans who accessed such care since 2002, 83,889 (or 37 percent) were diagnosed with or were evaluated for a mental disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder (39,243 or 17 percent), nondependent abuse of drugs (33,099 or 14 percent), and depressive disorder (27,023 or 12 percent).

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