Saturday, July 18, 2009

USA Today - Military suicides

Military suicides
Ernest Ryan - Temperance, Mich.

USA TODAY's story about record numbers of soldier suicides states that, according to the head of the Army's suicide task force, Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, "Risk-taking is common among soldiers who are suicidal. Such behaviors include sleep deprivation, erratic conduct, excessive alcohol use and abuse, violations of Army regulations, high-risk driving, mishandling finances and infidelity" ("Troubled soldiers' treatment criticized," News, Monday).

I wonder whether McGuire knows that each of those "risk-taking behaviors" is a side effect of the many antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and sleep-aiding pills that a reported 12%-15% of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking.

It's too bad the story also failed to point out that suicide is also a side effect of many of the drugs our troops are on. Today's U.S. military is one of the most medicated in history and, apparently, one of the most troubled by suicides and mental disorders.

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