Senate Committee Turns Attention To Veteran Narcotic Use

Sen. Baldwin Requested Hearing In Wake Of Tomah VA Scandal

Center for American Progress (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Prescription practices involving opiates at a Veterans Affairs medical center Tomah and elsewhere in the country was the focus of a U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing Thursday.

According to the VA, 60 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan now suffer from chronic pain. Some of those veterans treat the pain with narcotics. Department officials say there’s now an opiate epidemic not only in the VA, but nationwide.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin requested the hearing in light of these issues and investigations into alleged improper opiate prescription practices in Tomah.

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“The problem of overprescribing of opioids has led to tragic and real consequences for veterans, their families and entire communities across our nation,” said Baldwin. “We should never lose sight of the central, human dimension of these issues.”

At the hearing, Sen. Ron Johnson told VA officials that a committee he chairs is conducting its own investigation.