News & Politics  
comments_image Comments

Soldiers Increasingly Take to Pill Popping to Cope with Fighting Bush's Wars

12% of combat troops in Iraq and 17% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills.
 
 
Share
 
 
 
 

Ah, the irony. Wired's Noah Schactman notes:

After years on patrol overseas, 12% of combat troops in Iraq and 17% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope, Time magazine reports in a cover story on "America's Medicated Army."

Drugs have always played a role in warfare, but anti-depressants are a new thing, as Scachtman highlights from the Time article:

"In the Persian Gulf War, we didn't have these medications, so our basic philosophy was 'three hots and a cot'" -- giving stressed troops a little rest and relaxation to see if they improved. "If they didn't get better right away, they'd need to head to the rear and probably out of theater." But in his most recent stint in Baghdad in 2006, he treated a soldier who guarded Iraqi detainees. "He was distraught while he was having high-level interactions with detainees, having emotional confrontations with them -- and carrying weapons," [Colonel Joseph] Horam says. "But he was part of a highly trained team, and we didn't want to lose him. So we put him on an SSRI [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, like Prozac and Zoloft], and within a week, he was a new person, and we got him back to full duty."

There are wonderful drugs out there that can take us to new understandings of reality ... and horrible realities that can only be dealt with by taking massive drugs. Check out Penny Coleman's AlterNet article on this subject, " Pentagon, Big Pharma: Drug Troops to Numb Them to Horrors of War."

 
See more stories tagged with: