United States Armed Forces

The United States Armed Forces are the federal military forces of the United States
consisting of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.


According to a recent survey conducted by the Department of Defense, one in eight active duty military personnel are current users of illicit drugs. This is largely driven by prescription drug abuse, reported by one in nine service members—more than double the rate of the civilian population.

  • 1 in 8 active duty military personnel are current users of illicit drugs
  • 60% of the 140,000 veterans in Federal and state prisons struggle with substance abuse
  • $541.7 million dollars in Federal funding has been requested for veterans’ treatment programs in fiscal year 2012

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, most of the prescription drugs misused by service members are opioid pain medications.  The greater availability of these medications and increases in prescriptions for them may contribute to their growing misuse by service members.

Pain reliever prescriptions written by military physicians quadrupled between 2001 and 2009—to almost 3.8 million. Combat-related injuries and the strains from carrying heavy equipment during multiple deployments likely play a role in this trend.


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