A new Veterans Affairs report with updated statistics on veteran suicide shows veteran suicide numbers are significantly higher than non-veterans and not going down despite tens of millions in spending.

The report, VA National Suicide Data Report, shows veterans aged 18-34 have a suicide rate more than twice as high than non-veterans. The numbers published cover 2005-2015 and contain data not previously published in the agency’s rushed 2016 report.

While the agency asserts veteran suicide has remained static at 20 deaths per day, the newer numbers show the agency’s spending to reduce suicide has only benefited the government contractors and not the veterans targeted with the resources created.

RELATED: Veteran Commits Suicide By Fire

Who would have thought suicidal veterans would not pay much attention to fancy websites and advertisements about how great VA is at addressing veteran suicide.

RELATED: New Veteran Suicide Prevention Rollout

In 2016, the agency published new numbers that were reportedly more accurate than previous research showing veterans commit suicide at a rate of 22 per day. That number became a tagline for those who believe VA does not care about veteran suicide.

Using then newly calibrated statistics, VA was able to assert the number of suicides was actually 20, not 22.

So, with this new report, the agency asserts the overall number is still 20 per day, but individual breakdowns show the suicide rate is going up – – and it is going up faster than non-veterans despite record funding and VA supposedly.

RELATED: Veteran Suicide On The Rise (2012)

Suicide Report Executive Summary

Below in italics is the executive summary from the report: 

This report provides information on suicide mortality for the years 2005–2015. It incorporates the most recent mortality data from the joint VA/DoD Joint Suicide Data Repository and includes information for deaths from suicide among all known Veterans of U.S. military service. Data for the joint VA/DoD Suicide Data Repository were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics’ National Death Index (NDI) through collaboration a with the DoD. Data available from the NDI include reports of mortality submitted from vital statistics systems in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. 

This report builds upon prior analyses of Veteran suicide and provides additional and updated information on all known suicides among Veterans living in the United States from 2005 to 2015. Findings include direct comparisons of Veterans’ suicide rates with those of analogous non-Veteran populations, calculations of suicide rates among high-risk subgroups (e.g., Veterans diagnosed with mental health and opioid use disorders), and comparisons of Veterans with and without recent receipt of VHA services. Rates of suicide were calculated by calendar year to facilitate comparison with national statistics and reports from other agencies.

Please note that this report includes data on suicide deaths through 2015 that were not available at the time of the 2016 report. It also incorporates data obtained from the DoD that were unavailable for previous reports. These additional mortality data distinguish Veterans with likely Title 38 status, meaning potential full eligibility for VA care, from those who were active-duty Service members or who were National Guardsmen or Reservists never federally activated at the time of their death. Of note, all of these populations, as well as former Service members, are included as Veterans in this report. These additional data are included for the years 2005–2015 in this report’s calculations of the number of Veterans who died by suicide each day. All other findings in the report refer specifically to Veterans who had been activated for federal service and were not currently serving on active duty at the time of their death. 

Findings are based on analyses conducted by the VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention and the VA Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center in the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Results were obtained using all available information to identify Veterans who died by suicide.

Key findings include the following:

  • Overall, general trends in Veteran suicide, previously reported through 2014, remained consistent through 2015.
  • In 2015, Veterans accounted for 14.3 percent of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults and constituted 8.3 percent of the U.S. adult population (ages 18 and up). In 2010, Veterans accounted for 16.5 percent of all deaths by suicide and represented 9.6 percent of the U.S. adult population.
  • The burden of suicide resulting from firearm injuries remains high among Veterans. In 2015, the percent of suicide deaths that involved firearms remained unchanged from 2014 at 67.0 percent.
  • After adjusting for differences in age, the rate of suicide in 2015 was 2.1 times higher among Veterans compared with non-Veteran adults.
  • After adjusting for differences in age, the rate of suicide in 2015 was 1.3 times higher among male Veterans compared with non-Veteran adult men.
  • After adjusting for differences in age, the rate of suicide in 2015 was 2.0 times higher among female Veterans compared with non-Veteran adult women.
  • In 2015, rates of suicide were highest among younger Veterans (ages 18–34) and lowest among older Veterans (ages 55 and older). However, Veterans ages 55 and older accounted for 58.1 percent of all Veteran suicide deaths in 2015.
  • In 2015, an average of 20.6 active-duty Service members, non-activated Guard or Reserve members, and other Veterans died by suicide each day. 6.1 of these were Veterans who had recently used VHA services.
  • After adjusting for age, suicide rates increased for Veteran and non-Veteran populations from 2005 to 2015. However, rates for Veterans who did not receive care in the VHA increased faster among VHA using Veterans.
  • Considering unadjusted and age-adjusted rates for 2015, Veterans who had recently used VHA services had higher rates of death by suicide when compared with non-VHA-using Veterans, overall Veterans, and non-Veterans. This is similar to information presented in the previous report and is consistent with findings reported elsewhere. VHA-using Veterans are a population that has active health and mental health care needs and that is actively seeking care because those problems are causing disruption in their lives. Many of these illnesses, such as mental health or substance use disorders, are associated with an increased risk of suicide.

Full Veteran Suicide Report

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Get rid of VA incompetence and VA malfeasance. End the self perpetuating bureaucracy and put the union to the sword. Veteran suicide rates will plummet overnight.

  2. Conclusion: walking into VA doors carries with it a statistically huge risk of suicide for veterans. Over twice as many die seeking VA help and treatment than otherwise would according to those stats. How can this not be the correct interpretation?

    VA should be OUT of the mental health game if the goal is to save lives. In the area of the brain they just are not equipped very well. In the words of a former counsellor well paid by VA to help me cope with PTSD, “I think that place should be demolished…” in reference to the VA mental healthcare building here in Eugene OR. This was out of character yet she was not the first professional who had expressed this sort of sentiment in my presence. Veterans are not at a higher risk DESPITE more money given to VA. They are at higher risk BECAUSE of VA. Incompetent fools treating a broken leg just leave you with a limp. Incompetent fools treating complex organic mental health conditions leave the nation with corpses.

    • ^what Dennis said^…The VA will never acknowledge or even “get” that the VA itself is the main fuel for 22 Veteran Suicides A Day in USA.

      I’m willing to bet that some VA Psych Bean-counter committee is trying to figure out how to make that number even higher. (easy…hire more Psych hacks to push us all along to the big punch bowl with the arsenic and call it a group therapy game with a twist of death…)

      • I know what you mean. When they deny claims and subsequently deny medical services, no wonder Veterans are committing suicide. I think that the pathetic way claims are determined then denied is a major cause of depression, suicide, and homelessness. Shameful, but has anyone done a study about this? No, it will probably show that denying benefits/compensation doesn’t impact the rates of homelessness or suicides. I am just getting sick and tired of the VA and when are things going to change? I would love to be the VA Director and the changes overnight would be incredible. We need to flush the VA and start over with competent people. What is it going to take for this to happen??? A revolt by patients/Veterans???

  3. Guess what?

    Nobody in this narcissistic country gives a shitfuck.

    We are 100% on our own.

    • You’re wrong. Veterans care about veterans & look out for each other. Please never forget that. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the negative I mean it’s definitely the Marine Corps way so I assume other branches are the same… but you have to remember to be positive & remember you aren’t alone. We’re all in this together. Stay strong brother Semper Fi

  4. with the new knee jerk reaction on pain killer by the VA and other health care places, the suicide rate by vets with chronic pain is going to go way up. At plus or minus 70 years of age most vets like me have no further tolerance for enduring pain just because some bureaucrat feels the need to mark his or her spot by bringing shit like that up and instituting changes that will affect many vets with chronic pain. I fit in that category but don’t wish to do that to my wife and kids.

    • The VA disregards the fact that a higher quality of life is possible. I hope the VA reevaluates their pain med policies and takes a more holistic approach.

    • Hmmm, didn’t think about the opiods as a problem for suicide. That just adds to the reasons like homelessness and denying claims and services which could be the main reasons for suicide. It just gets depressing dealing with the VA and their crummy management and medical folks are not the best and the brightest…

  5. It’s time to shut the whole damn thing down!
    VA doesn’t give a flying fuck about anything, especially veterans, except for how much money they can steal from the American Taxpayers!
    Those in top positions are getting richer day by day. While veterans die because of their Incompetence!
    Time for the whole damn thing to be shut down!

    #fuckva
    #fuckafge
    #fuckvsos
    #ftw

  6. Google this shit from “military.com”
    Dated yesterday.

    Titled:
    “Veterans Groups Are Now Pledging to Serve Community With New Creed”

    Sorry, I didn’t put the whole article on. It’s nothing but a piece of shit by some VSO’s!

  7. The contractors have responsibility without authority. They can only answer the phone and talk. Can’t get you in so your only option is to go to the VA Medical Center and take that finale exit in the parking lot or waiting room. And it doesn’t work. Takes face to face interaction and a knowledgeable therapist that can get a neurological condition diagnosed.

  8. Yes the suicides rates are up because how we are treated at the VA.
    The VA said i was lying when our helicopter went down because they said it didnt happen! Well tell it to my brain injury proof on MRI’s, how i have flashbacks when ever i hear a helicopter and hold my head etc.
    They also asked me in front of my son if i ever tried to commit sucicide and i showed them the scars on my wrists. I was stupid enough to tell them the truth. What have they dine for me? Caused me to premedicate myself when ever i go to the VA because of my pannic attacks, uncontrollable shaking for fear of what they want from me next. I am very lucky to have lived let alone not develop cancer from agent orsnge because i was drenched in the stuff and had to spend days in hospital with hives, 1/2 of my body covered with rash, fever etc.
    Then when i ask to be listed as catrastophic disabled they say my GAF scores are too high to have a neurologicsl exsm. But my second rating they wanted to rate me as incompetent and i got my 100%. Total and permanet rating for the rater actually read my medical files and asked me questions on how i function.
    So yes i think about suicide all of the time but it would lesve a too heavy scar on my family. Is the on,y reason i dont!
    Just as us going to war it left a feeling on our families if we would come back! For it is harder on the ones who are left behind! For sure. For that is why i enlisted to avenge the ones we lost!

    • How did you get to talk to the rater? He really read your medical records? WOW!!! I wish I had the same rater…

  9. Ben,

    My take away on this is VA can’t have it both ways. One minute they say the rate isn’t up. Then very next paragraph it says it’s up. My personal beliefs from my own experiences & witnessed experiences are VA kills. That place will drive you to the depths of despair. They know it too. What did they expect to happen cutting people off their pain meds & their mental health is a joke! They refuse to treat you 9x out of 10. They tell you things like you shouldn’t be allowed to pop a pill & make it all better (verbatim what VA MH said to me personally- mind you no addiction issues ever. It was in reference to anti anxiety medications- not Xanax) VA is literally stealing the hope right out from under veterans. They can’t see a light @ the end of the tunnel. They think they’re going to be forced to live in pain & in severe depressions & other medical conditions. Some can’t afford outside VA. Some are @ various stages of veteran life. But the point is they don’t seem to realize if they would get away from VA they’d be more likely to stay alive. I even think the VA does it on purpose because how dare us not be grateful for their vile & incompetent care. How dare us say you’re not treating us right. I think instead of VA we should get Tricare. 90% of drs already accept it. It would be a simple matter of keeping them enrolled or re-enrolling them. This cuts VA out of the horrible healthcare aspect & keeps veterans getting the care they need. Why can’t this happen? Idgaf about the VHA employees. Most of them are shit anyways. It’s time to take care of veterans & stop killing them instead.

    • Molly, I’m terribly sorry about your experiences with the VA.

      That said, I have suffered the effects of PTSD for over 32 years. For the first 31, I just thought I was naturally an asshole. Then, in 2017, one of my buddies that I served with told me that he’d gotten into the VA at 50% for PTSD. Well, then I applied. I had an excellent VSO (my county Veterans Service Office). About 90 days later, my decision was 70% for PTSD alone. Less than six months after that, I’m 100% TDIU, permanent and total.

      The care, both medical and mental health that I have received at Castle Point and Montrose, NY has been nothing but excellent (with a couple of hiccups. I had to fire my PCP and my psychiatrist.) Once I got proper providers, the care has been awesome.

      I realize that different VISNs with different management have different levels of veteran satisfaction. That is part of the problem: no consistency. We need to hold the feet of Congress and the Senate to the fire. They have the ability to change this, and purge the criminals from the VA.

      Wanna join forces? I’m on a rampage, so I’m willing to take on other systems.

      Last, but not least, as I saw in one of your previous comments, you are not alone. Smile!

    • If not tricare how about the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan insurance that they get? Costs a little more than tricare, but you can go anywhere with it depending on your health organization. There are several different ones out there for Fed Employees and maybe they should have the option of tricare or FEHBP. Then they can decide if they still want to go to the VA or to the others….just a thought.

  10. ok now this is the same VA that has told more lies than the devil himself rite? Now this report is the truth 😉😉! I would say there are a lot more than 20 a day but the VA has to look like its doing something good because it has been the cause of veterans taking committing suicide, number one reason having to fight for their benefits and after YEARS of fighting then they have to wait forever to be seen, then they are switched from doctor to doctor until they can’t take it any more. So it’s a little hard for me to take this report as being truthful “the VA reporting on the VA”. It sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

  11. Well they suck, does the White House’s VA Dept do anything? Or like others? Those bastards tried to mess with me a gain, 3 police officers here to perform health and welfare check just to embarrass me over the message after the doctor fail to do his job. Only one visit with he no examination and he didn’t read over X-rays with. I reminded him that he never looked at my back. So since you can’t go to the VA every time someone happens, I take pictures and bring to next appointment. To keep short, he did look at my back, he seen a picture on my iPad, cannot tell you what wanted to do. So the White House said will get back within 3 days. Also AMVETS management from their corporate office will handle the case himself giving me his private cell number.

    The Denver VA is going to insane when this happened last time, but with the White House. I hope they carry a big stick?

  12. “https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/06/daisy-luther/200-ordinary-medications-cause-depression-and-suicidal-thoughts-are-you-taking-one-of-them/”

    “https://taskandpurpose.com/called-new-white-house-veterans-complaint-line-heres-went/”

    “https://federalnewsradio.com/unions/2018/06/hud-tells-union-to-vacate-federal-office-space-citing-executive-orders/”

    “https://federalnewsradio.com/agency-oversight/2018/06/federal-watchdog-podcast-takes-behind-the-scenes-look-at-health-care-fraud/”

    Heck, Google ‘alarming suicide rates.’

    “Known suicides?” Personally I don’t believe in stats, studies, polls, blah. Experts, whistle-blowers in the past have reported everything, the numbers, can be fudged as well as scientific reports or claims that can be falsified to support an agenda. Including those twisted reports and ‘professionals’ called in on some court case to throw theories, studies, or findings around.

    What about the many vets who give up and to set their family up afterwards create a fatal accident? They don’t want to be a “burden” on the family over some tragic diagnosis or a lifetime of constant care. VA game playing over some affliction or illness. Fully aware of what something like ALS does, or MS, etc. Deep subject.

    Or about the many of “accidental overdoses.” Doesn’t make it to the stats as “suicides.” Even though per news segments or commercials in the past where some pretty widow claims her loved vet didn’t have the common sense or knowledge NOT to take 1 or 2 months of pain meds in one day with bottles of SSRIs or something else as a kicker, or booze. Oops! They got that insurance money and benefits. Those damn evil pain meds and dumb vets who the government must come in to rule our lives, or ruin them, maybe kill us, to save us from ourselves. Now it’s all about suffering and giving vets and civilians a choice. Wait on some kind of new pain killing med, suffer or go die. Or “hit the street corner for some heroine, crack, or go back to drinking.” Oh joy, fill up the corporate prison system and worker slave programs for cheap. Some choices since we live in the “free” America.

  13. @T
    If I am correct on that specific case you’ve referrenced, that veteran was COURT ORDERED to take whatever meds at that prescribed dosage, at the particular time noted for each and every prescription that VAMC forced on him. That case I am referring to, if it is the same one you intend, is also the one that the congresswoman fought so hard to enact the laws, that ultimately keep deserving veteran’s from their needed pain management prescriptions. This was a dual law thing and both named after each of the wronged veteran’s, maybe last year or the year before.

    • Rosie, yeah I think that was one of them that went on to push new laws. Dang memory. I think that one was over a young Marine once deployed then came home a mess with constant pain.

      There was a couple of more around 2014/2015 I thought of when the “new VA chronic pain clinic” informed us about the ‘forced” SSRIs, life consuming contracts, no civvy care, etc. Plus we were told we’d be checked for constant use of pain meds and amount of SSRI on board. I told them I don’t take them unless needed bad enough. Nope, We would be checked to pill counted, screened, and to drive 200 miles round trip to do so any time, night or day or disability. They call we’d have to jump, no excuses. Take the meds as prescribed around the clock, meaining set the alarm to awake, take a pill, back to sleep. If I had the regular break-through or migraine pain meds I had to take them as well around the clock, which absolutely did not make sense to me. I told the idiot you’d have me so doped I couldn’t drive and that I didn’t drive when taking meds, period not wanting to kill others or myself. I don’t take chances in this crazy society especially over in the big city I informed him. Didn’t matter. If I wrecked… “shit happens.” Smiles, shrugs his shoulders, bigger smile. “Do as ordered.” Another time when I thought WTF and told the dude I was done taking orders long ago and we present we not active military nor there to be “ordered” around “from the top” or not. Pure insanity and intentional BS I kindly told him with others present in agreement. Closest I have been pushed to thinking about taking violent actions against anyone in many years. This dude I could barely restrain myself from gimping up to him to bitch slap the taste out of his insanity spewing smiling face.

      So as VA “ordered?” Court ordered? Being VA compliant or hear about having your file flagged or being non-compliant? Really hard to tell or find out just what is going on behind the scenes or not being reported on by lame stream media and others with much to hide.

      • Forgot. “As needed for pain” on the bottles didn’t matter. As I pointed out to him. Around the clock ‘orders’ superseded what was on the literature, prescription bottles. As well as the others new demands. Ie. “To forget whatever specialist, MD, civvy MD, whomever has told us, forget it all.” “Never use civvy care again, period.” Everything he was spewing was the “New VA way, the ‘new chronic pain clinics way.”

        Interesting side note. New pain clinic MD lady called and said I needed pain meds and would send out a script. Also sent information to my new PCP telling her to keep me on all my meds, no change in long standing treatment plans. New Paki MD said to me not happening, she had “orders from the top” to cut a percentage of her patients off, go back to the pain clinic,” and proceeded to play games. Everything stopped and turned into pure hassles.

  14. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿

    Veteran suicide? You say tamata, and I say tomato, call it what it really is, MURDER by VA.

  15. I think you can never beat the VA. When they want to crush, they crush you. I think they enjoy it very much. I’ve been fighting using all my friends and anyone will listen. There’s something crazy about retaliation and they are extremely good at it. Question your care, who do you think cares. The last time I challenged a doctor pointing out his mistakes, that got me high on the shit list. When they found out my friend had clout and a senator tells them to fix immediately, fix and when think safe again? Start over and find like reducing your compensation. They win, so just need see what they have in store for me, all cackling at the water fountain brainstorming how to ruin my life further. I wish have the energy to fight, because this time tomorrow should know my fate. I knew how bad it was and they all their resources to pitch in, buy a big old 2 x 4 and shove up my ass. When people get away with everything, they then justify acting as a big win. If lost both legs in a VA accident, they would say this what you get and need to rest and think. Then may have a chance, especially when the news makes a blip on the radar and makes me an example. Just hope I can make it out. For people don’t know the VA and how powerful they are? It’s 20x worse than can ever imagine. I’m sure I will need to brace myself for more retaliation, if for nothing else than a big bash making me the piñata at the next picnic. With the power they have you would wonder how the slob wrecks havoc in one’s own life. So better get your popcorn because I think they are going to step on some roaches in the operating room doing who knows what? I’m in deep poo poo

  16. “http://www.mywabashvalley.com/news/finding-friendship-through-tragedy/1249161793”

    This BS propaganda and feel good stories above is all we get locally if that. While excusing actions of those who are supposed to help and care, but make matters much worse. But gotta make everything in Indiana look swell, put on the smiles, forgive, play door-mats, and listen to some brain-washed woman give others advice. Turn all those nasty, corrupt, mischievous stories into something nice, warm, fluffy, with an extra coating of facade not giving specifics. Don’t worry about suicides and why. Wait years, sweep it all aside for years. Oh but “we don’t report stories.” Hurry it probably won’t be up long.

    • Meant… “we do not report on any suicide stories due to privacy rights and families concerns.”

      What man killed, VA and corruption crap… they don’t report on much. Sure good at propaganda, worthless news, feel good crap, kitty died, college town rag material, etc. Nothing much of needful news or reality.

  17. This whole statistical numbers game is all worthless, corrupted, twisted to “try” and make the VA suicides vs Non-VA suicides look better. VA can’t hide behind this truth, all they can do is lie about the numbers. I was told by Mental Health therapist, that once VA denies treating pain and that Veteran goes outside of VA to obtain pain relief, that possible suicide statistic is no longer considered a Veteran being treated by VA; regardless that the Veteran put a gun in his mouth due to the lack of decency from the VAHC. That is their whole plan, get Veterans off the “dole.” Make life so miserable that Veterans leave the VA. Less patients, less medications, and ultimately lessen Benefits to that Veteran, all in the name of saving Taxpayers dollars. In the meantime, any monies designated for Veterans via CHOICE programs are denied to Veterans by Administrators, then these monies are transferred into discretionary spending accounts, ie: Bonuses for Management, buying equipment that is ultimately stolen by the very employees that are rude, disrespectful, deceitful, and have no fear of transparency, filed reports of wrong doings, or being terminated. All things that any Private Medical Plan would never tolerate, because the Media loves to bash and report on just a single wrongful death. It isn’t until undisputable truths surface, and Veterans get a 15 second slot. Have you ever tried to get your local News to investigate your claim. I’ve never even received a “no thank you.” What is it going to take to get Congress to just Close the VA? #VeteransLivesMatter.

  18. @Off topic
    I have long assumed that pharmaceutical sales reps posess little if any, actual medical or pharmaceutical formal education. The following story, confirms my assumption that has been/is the sales rep dictating how prescriptions are to be parcelled out to patients and without hard medical evidence to assure that compliance is in any way beneficial to a patient’s best quality of life. But, the company via the sales rep, both will roll in the ducketts while the patient suffers the consequences.

    “https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oxycontin-purdue-pharma-former-sales-representative-deceptive-sales-psuedoaddiction/”
    CBS News June 21, 2018, 7:47 AM
    Purdue Pharma used deceptive sales tactic for OxyContin after settlement, ex-sales rep says
    Purdue Pharma laid off its entire sales team this week. Now only on “CBS This Morning,” a former Purdue sales representative reveals the drugmaker downplayed the dangers of opioids, even after pleading guilty to a felony charge of “misbranding.” Purdue’s 2007 settlement with the Justice Department included more than $630 million in fines.

    But 24 states and more than 400 cities and counties are suing Purdue and its competitors, accusing them of fueling an opioid drug crisis that’s killed more than 200,000 people.
    Purdue makes OxyContin, perhaps the best known opioid painkiller in America. In 2007, it admitted to falsely selling the drug as less addictive than rivals. But a former Purdue salesperson tells us the deceptive sales didn’t end there.

    “It was always in the back of my mind that maybe the company had not told us the whole truth when they hired us, when we interviewed, when we went through training,” Carol Panara told CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil. She trained for a sales job with Purdue Pharma in 2008.
    She showed us how the company’s bonus system put her in a position to make more money – by convincing doctors to prescribe higher doses of OxyContin for a wider range of pain.

    “So bottom line, sell as much as you can,” Dokoupil said.
    “Sell as much as you can. The idea being that we’re trying to… expand our reach beyond just pain doctors,” Dokoupil said.
    A year earlier, Purdue had admitted it falsely “promoted OxyContin as less addictive” by – among other means – claiming the drug’s slow-release formula “did not cause a ‘buzz’ or euphoria… and could be used to ‘weed out’ addicts.” The company said the “misstatements” ended in 2001.

    “They made it sound like it was a little bit of a witch hunt on the government’s part,” Panara said.

    But amid skyrocketing addiction rates and overdoses related to OxyContin, Panara claimed the company taught a sales tactic she now considers questionable, saying some patients might only appear to be addicted when in fact they’re just in pain. In training, she was taught a term for this: “psuedoaddiction.”
    “So the cure for ‘pseudoaddiction,’ you were trained, is more opioids?” Dokoupil asked.
    “A higher dose, yes,” Panara said.
    “Did this concept of pseudoaddiction come with studies backing it up?”
    “We had no studies. We actually — we did not have any studies. That’s the thing that was kind of disturbing, was that we didn’t have studies to present to the doctors,” Panara responded.
    “You know how that sounds?” Dokoupil asked.
    “I know. I was naïve,” Panara said.

    A 2015 study published in Current Addiction Reports found “no empirical evidence” to support “pseudoaddiction” as a diagnosis. In a statement to CBS News (see full below), Purdue said it’s “confident that its past marketing and sales of its prescription opioid medications have been consistent with the information contained in the FDA-approved label.” But the word “pseudoaddiction” doesn’t appear on OxyContin’s label, and a spokesperson for the FDA said the labeling is not intended as a discussion of pseudoaddiction.

    “A big lie’s really easy to explain. You know, you just come up with a ridiculous term, like pseudoaddiction,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said. He is one of two dozen AGs suing Purdue and other opioid manufacturers. Many of the lawsuits mention pseduoaddiction.

    “And that maybe is the most disgraceful conduct that… we’ve seen in the whole pattern of disgraceful conduct,” Hunter said.
    “So as far as you can tell, there is no scientific basis for pseudoaddiction?” Dokoupil asked.
    “I reject any notion that there’s science behind pseudoaddiction,” Hunter said.

    Hunter alleges that Purdue and its competitors have “caused a devastating public health crisis,” costing his state billions of dollars a year.
    “Do you think this is an epidemic that begins with Purdue Pharma and OxyContin?” Dokoupil asked.
    “Yes,” Hunter said.
    Purdue has reportedly been in discussions with multiple states for a “global settlement” of lawsuits. But Hunter said he’s not interested in joining those talks.

    “I have no confidence in that process. I have confidence in our lawyers. I have confidence in our laws. I have confidence in a jury of Oklahomans,” Hunter said.

    Panara, who quit in 2013, said she hopes the drugmaker is held accountable.

    “I think they misrepresented to the public. I think they misrepresented to their salespeople. And yeah, I think it was just a big charade,” Panara said.
    “To what end?”
    “To making money. To making money,” Panara said.
    Asked whether Panara regrets the five years she spent with Purdue Pharma, she said, “I’m gonna sum it up and say this: I think that was one of the, if not the worst career decisions of my life.”
    In February, the company said it would stop training salespeople to sell OxyContin. This week, it announced it would stop making sales calls for the rest of its drugs. Purdue said it’s diversifying beyond pain medications, working to develop new drugs to treat cancer and central nervous system disorders.

    Purdue Pharma told CBS News in a statement:
    “Purdue is confident that its past marketing and sales of its prescription opioid medications have been consistent with the information contained in the FDA-approved label as the agency oversees the risks and benefits of prescription medications. Additionally, FDA has, and continues to, rigorously assess the science and medical practice around appropriate treatment of chronic pain, while simultaneously working hard to ensure that our society suffers less from the scourges of prescription opioid abuse and addiction.

    Purdue is committed to working collaboratively with all those impacted by this public health crisis to help stem the tide of opioid related deaths and addiction.”
    A spokesperson for the FDA told CBS News the OxyContin labeling is not intended as a discussion of pseudoaddiction. The FDA provided us with the following statement:
    “The FDA is aware of the term pseudoaddiction, but the referenced language in section 9.2 of OxyContin’s labeling is intended to assist prescribers by recommending that they evaluate all patients presenting with drug-seeking behavior (seeking more opioids), to determine whether the behavior is part of an underlying addiction or if the behavior is related to inadequate pain control.

    Further, OxyContin contains oxycodone, which has always been listed as a Schedule II drug controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act. Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.

    It’s important to note that while pseudoaddiction is a concept that has been described in published medical literature, it does not preclude the possibility that a patient may become addicted.”
    © 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  19. suicide is exactly what they want. At 22 a day the suicide rate will eventually go down, then they can take credit for lowering it, its called attrition.
    VA mental health care is a joke.

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