On the heels of "almost" completing a counseling program, I was alarmed by a recent article that touted giving prescription drugs to war veterans who are returning from duty with alcohol and drug issues. It might not have gotten my attention so readily except for a recent job search turning up pages and pages of job opportunities for drug counselors to treat returning soldiers. Throughout the aforementioned program, students are consistently taught the Hippocratic Oath: "Do no harm to the client." Is it just me, or does it seem unethical to give an addict exactly what he or she is yenning for? Are we setting these returning heroes up for utter demise by giving them more drugs to counter their already addictive behavior. I know prescription writers will blast me for believing that anxiety meds only mask a person's problems, instead of forcing them to lasso what emotionally ails them and begin the long journey to healing. Just as I don't believe that war is the answer; drugs most times are not the best answer either. Any addict who is honest with self, will admit that sobriety first starts with the desire to dry up or out. But, I am concerned that numbing the emotional and physical ravages of war, with synthetic drugs,is far less costly to "taxpayers" than the tedious and time-consuming, and too costly, long-term counseling sessions these soldiers need to assimilate back into civilian life.
Interestingly, my attempt to comment on the article written in USA Today was blocked. Just the same, kudos to the 30-year vet who made the ethical decision to do no harm to himself by declining the offer of drug-addicting synthetic pain killers. We teach our kids to "just say no to drugs" only to send them to war with drugs being the very things we offer them on their return. I wish I could put my finger on it; but, there is something very unethical about this concept.