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Report: VA Has Increased Opiate Prescriptions In St. Louis By Almost 300 Percent Since 2001

(Courtesy Center for Investigative Reporting)

An investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found that the Department of Veterans Affairs has increased the number of prescriptions for opiates by about 270 percent nationwide in the past twelve years.

While the number of prescriptions varies widely in different regions of the country, St. Louis reflects the national average with an approximate 300 percent increase, said the author of the article, Aaron Glantz.

"Basically what we found is that the VA is dealing with returning soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan by loading them up with prescription opiate pain killers. These are drugs that are similar to heroin and are just as addictive," said Glantz. "And really not giving them other types of care that might be more effective."

The basis of this report comes from data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) compiled the data into an interactive map. In addition to discussing the report on St. Louis on the Air,  this story aired on St. Louis Public Radio Saturday as part of a PRX/CIR collaboration called Reveal: There's More to the Story. It will be rebroadcast Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.

Related Event

PRX and the Center for Investigative Journalism Present "Reveal: There's More to the Story"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

7:00 p.m.

90.7 FM

Reveal Website

St. Louis on the Air provides discussion about issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh.

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