How Opioid Addiction is Destroying U.S. Veterans

Today, the United States faces a nationwide epidemic that kills tens of thousands every year; opioid addiction. What makes opioid addiction so prevalent is that no demographic is immune to its development. However, veterans are experiencing the crippling effects of opioid addiction more than anyone else.


A 2011 study revealed that patients of the Veterans Health Administration are 2 times as likely to die from an accidental overdose than non-veterans. This stems back to the original purpose of prescribed opioids: to treat pain. The JAMA Internal Medicine reported in 2014 that just about half of returning veterans suffer from chronic pain, whereas a quarter represents the general population. As a result, opioids are being prescribed more than ever before. 15% of the U.S. military depends on opioids post-deployment, versus 4% of the general public.


Sabrina Franks is a recovery assistant at a Volunteers of America Adult Detox center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The residential program, which focuses on the homeless and low-income men and women, are now collaborating with Veteran Affairs to prioritize desperate veterans. The decision provided Franks a different perspective on the differences between servicemen and women seeking help and the program’s remaining clientele.

“I’ve noticed they are more closed off about what they’re going through,” Franks told Talbott Recovery in this exclusive interview. “Our clients come in, and they’re very open about their symptoms. Whereas, veterans come in and they just lie in bed. They’re clearly miserable, but they won’t come to staff or really engage with a lot of other clients.”


Franks partly attributes it to post-traumatic stress syndrome, which she said is common among the veterans at the center. “Also, there’s the idea that you have to be ‘army strong.’”

When it comes to the substances that drive veterans to their door, Franks said it depends on the client’s age. “With the older veterans, I’ve noticed it’s more alcohol. The younger veterans that have come in I’ve noticed it’s more opiates that are a problem.” For those in the latter group, she said many cite injury as the pathway to abuse. “I’ve heard that a few times from them and from other people–that injury is what led them to addiction.”

Sean M. experienced all of this first hand as an Airborne Ranger in Afghanistan.

“I did not realize the toll that multiple deployments took on my mental health,” he wrote in the story he posted on the Heroes in Recovery website. Rather than opioids, however, Sean turned to alcohol. “With every deployment, I came back and drank a little bit more.” This continued until he was admitted into the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP). “I was an ASAP rehab failure.”3


Forced out of the Army, PTSD and alcoholism took over. “My life fell apart…PTSD and alcohol dependence were killing me physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.” Several stints in rehab followed until finally, in 2012, something changed. “That was when I finally got it. I finally did it for myself.”

The strength to go through recovery after several relapses is a feat Franks said is something she’s seen in her own program’s veteran clients.


“I think they go through the same things with addiction that other people go through in terms of it taking them a few times to commit to going into treatment.” But, she said, “I do feel like when they do commit to recovery, they do tend to be stubborn about it.”

If you are looking for treatment for drug addiction, below are links to drug rehab centers in major cities across America:


Thankfully for people like Sean, Veteran Affairs is becoming more efficient in treatment as well as prevention regarding opioid addiction and their servicemen and women. VA centers are increasingly introducing non-drug involved therapies for handling chronic pain such as yoga, acupuncture, physical therapy and mindfulness. The Veteran Affairs created the Opioid Safety Initiative in 2013 to more efficiently track opioid use among veterans in their healthcare system. Lastly, the VA has reduced supply, decreasing the number of veterans receiving opioids by 20% and dosages for near 17,000 patients.

But the battle is not over. From 2010 to 2015, the U.S. saw a 55% increase in the number of veterans struggling with opioid addiction. However, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, the VA’s deputy under secretary for health and organizational excellence, is staying positive.

“I’m very pleased to say that we have made substantial progress across the system,” she said in an interview with Frontline. “We’re not done, but it is literally a priority that is part of the fabric across our system, and we monitor this on a regular basis.”


Obama Health Care Reform – What it Means to You!

Over the past year the House and the Senate have been working on an effort to provide health insurance reform that lowers costs, guarantees choices, and enhances quality health care for all Americans. Building on that year-long effort, the President’s final legislation included the best ideas from both sides of the aisle offered in the course of the debate.

Health reform will make health care more affordable, make health insurers more accountable, expand health coverage to all Americans, and make the health system sustainable, stabilizing family budgets, the Federal budget, and the economy:

  • It makes insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today.  This helps 32 million Americans afford health care who do not get it today – and makes coverage more affordable for many more.  Under the plan, 95% of Americans will be insured.
  • It sets up a new competitive health insurance market giving millions of Americans the same choices of insurance that members of Congress will have.
  • It brings greater accountability to health care by laying out commonsense rules of the road to keep premiums down and prevent insurance industry abuses and denial of care.
  • It will end discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • It puts our budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next ten years – and more than $1 trillion over the second decade – by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse.

Key Provisions in Health Reform:

Health reform built off of the legislation that passed the Senate and improves on it by bridging key differences between the House and the Senate and includes several key Republican provisions.

One key improvement, for example, is eliminating the Nebraska FMAP provision and providing significant additional Federal financing to all States for the expansion of Medicaid.  For America’s seniors, the reform completely closes the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” coverage gap.  It strengthens the Senate bill’s provisions that make insurance affordable for individuals and families, including protections for out-of-pocket costs, while also strengthening the provisions to fight fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid to save taxpayer dollars.  The threshold for the excise tax on the most expensive health plans will be raised from $23,000 for a family plan to $27,500 and will start in 2018 for all such plans.

Summaries of Key Elements of Health Reform:

How many people receive Social Security Benefits?

Currently, there are over 58 million individuals receiving Social Security benefits.  Social Security benefits include retirement benefits, survivor benefits, disabled workers, dependents of disabled workers as well as widower benefits.

As you can see from the data below, there are over 47 million individuals receiving “Old-Age and Survivors Insurance” benefits.  The money distributed to these individuals are funds collected in the form of employment taxes from working individuals.  Every pay period taxes are deducted from employees as part of the Social Security retirement benefits system created in 1939. When individuals reach retirement age, they can apply to receive retirement benefits based upon the amount of money they contributed to this trust fund.  Currently, the average payment received from this trust fund is just over $1,235 per month.

If you have more questions about Social Security benefits, you can review the web site, or contact your local Social Security office.  Click here to find the social security office nearest you.

Social Security benefits, September 2014

Type of beneficiary Beneficiaries Total monthly benefits (millions of dollars) Average monthly benefit (dollars)
Number (thousands) Percent
Total 58,767 100.0 70,033 1,191.70
Old-Age and Survivors Insurance 47,844 81.4 59,105 1,235.39
Retirement benefits 41,724 71.0 52,447 1,256.98
Retired workers 38,797 66.0 50,536 1,302.56
Spouses of retired workers 2,301 3.9 1,514 657.87
Children of retired workers 625 1.1 397 634.14
Survivor benefits 6,119 10.4 6,659 1,088.13
Children of deceased workers 1,867 3.2 1,521 814.81
Widowed mothers and fathers 144 0.2 133 922.38
Nondisabled widow(er)s 3,848 6.5 4,819 1,252.12
Disabled widow(er)s 258 0.4 184 712.93
Parents of deceased workers 1 (L) 1 1,101.34
Disability Insurance 10,923 18.6 10,927 1,000.36
Disabled workers 8,958 15.2 10,260 1,145.34
Spouses of disabled workers 151 0.3 47 309.10
Children of disabled workers 1,814 3.1 620 341.91
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.
NOTE: (L) = less than 0.05 percent.

Summer Is Coming To An End…

Heating and air conditioning companies are typically busy in the Summer months installing and or repairing air conditioning systems.  To keep your home comfortable in the summer months it is always a good idea to have your air conditioning unit checked and to perform routine maintenance.

As Winter sets in its important to have your heating furnace or heat pump check to ensure it is functioning properly as well.  You don’t want to have Winter cold hit you and then realize your furnace isn’t working properly.  A local HVAC contractor can quickly check over your heating system to ensure it is working as it should and perform any furnace repairs that my be needed.

Spending a little time and money now could save you some very cold and miserable nights in the dead of Winter!

Here are a few things to consider when hiring a local HVAC contractor:

  • Ensure they are properly licensed in your state
  • Ensure they are insured properly according to state requirements
  • Check to see if they have received any complaints at the BBB or State Contractors Board
  • Look for reviews online to see what past clients have to say about them

Protect Your Rights with a Car Accident Attorney

A car accident can have devastating consequences. In many instances, a person involved in a car accident ends up suffering from what prove to be significant injuries. A car attorney can best ensure that an injured person’s rights and interests fully are protected in the aftermath of an automobile accident.

Fighting an Insurance Company

Insurance companies are notorious for denying valid claims or proposing settlements that involve dollar amounts well below what which is justified in a particular case. An experienced Torrance car accident attorney knows what strategies to employ when facing down an insurance company.

Maximizing Necessary Compensation

The facts and circumstances of a particular case govern the types of compensation awarded to an injured person. The reality is that a skilled car accident attorney is equipped with the skills and experience needed to optimize compensation paid to an injured person.

Examples of the types of compensation an injured person may be entitled to in a particular case include:

  • medical bills
  • lost wages
  • pain and suffering
  • emotional distress

An injured person may be entitled not only to compensation for existing losses, but also those reasonably expected to be incurred in the future. A tenacious attorney understands how to make a case for current and future losses.

Filing and Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal injury law in California is complex. Court procedures in civil lawsuits are complicated. An experienced car accident understands the ins and outs of applicable personal injury law. In addition, this type of attorney understands court procedures in persona injury cases.

For more information on how an attorney can help those injured in an accident visit

Retaining a Car Accident Lawyer

The first step in retaining the services of a car accident attorney is scheduling what is known as an initial consultation. At an initial consultation, a personal injury attorney makes a preliminary evaluation of a case.

As a general rule, an attorney does not charge a fee for representation in a car accident case unless a settlement or judgment is obtained in favor of a client. This type of arrangement is known as a contingency fee. The fee is a percentage of the amount of the settlement or judgment. The percentage is agreed to between the attorney and client before representation in a case commences.

Building Permits and Housing Starts 2015

According to the latest U.S. Housing and Urban Development privately owned housing building permits were up 7.7 percent in February 2015, compared to the same period in 2014. Although the same report mentions housing starts were down 12.5 percent in February 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

BUILDING PERMITS Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,092,000. This is 3.0 percent (±1.7%) above the revised January rate of 1,060,000 and is 7.7 percent (±2.0%) above the February 2014 estimate of 1,014,000. Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 620,000; this is 6.2 percent (±0.9%) below the revised January figure of 661,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 445,000 in February.

HOUSING STARTS Privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 897,000. This is 17.0 percent (±9.5%) below the revised January estimate of 1,081,000 and is 3.3 percent (±12.5%)* below the February 2014 rate of 928,000. Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 593,000; this is 14.9 percent (±10.0%) below the revised January figure of 697,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 297,000  Full News Report

Although, Kiplinger forecasts that home construction will continue to rise throughout 2015 to easily surpass 2014 levels.

We expect single-family housing starts to expand at a double-digit rate in 2015, on a pace to hit 770,000, up from 646,000 last year.
Read more

Most housing experts continue to believe that housing will continue to perform well over the next few years barring any unforeseen circumstances that may impact employment and financing options.  Many individuals have been saving for the stricter down payment requirements that most home lenders are now requiring, which will allow more individuals to qualify for home loans.  Lending institutions are also loosening some requirements for home loan approvals, which should also contribute to increased numbers of individuals being able to purchase a new home.

Many housing markets across the country continue to see increased sales and home valuations.  Portland, Oregon is one housing market that continues to see robust sales and price appreciation.  With a strong business base, unlimited outdoor recreational activities and a great quality of life, people continue to move to the area.  Oregon does have strict land use laws which limits the area and density of  housing construction, which tends to limit housing supply to meet the continued demand.

If you are thinking of moving to the Portland area and building a new home, you can find acreage parcels in areas surrounding Portland and there are lots available in the Portland metro area.  Typically the first thing you want to do is contact a local real estate agent to find a property where you would like to live.  Once you find property, then you can contact a local Portland home builder to see if they build homes on private property.  Stone Creek Building is a custom home builder in Portland that specializes in building homes on your property.  They are a certified green home builderwhich means they can build environmentally friendly, safe and energy efficient homes.

Building a home is typically a once in a lifetime experience, so you want to make sure you work with an experienced home builder that you feel comfortable building your dream home.

Thinking of Buying a Home?

With the prices of homes low and mortgage rates near all time lows now may be a good time to start looking at purchasing a home.  Recent articles have shown that in a lot of cities across the county, it is actually cheaper to BUY a home than to RENT.  There are a lot of factors that go into the decision to buy a home and it is a big step that takes careful planning and consideration.

Below are some great resources to help you plan and research if now is the right time to buy!

Here Are Washington State’s Personal Injury Laws

Washington State Personal Injury Laws

Personal injury laws in Washington include money related pay for damage to a victim’s damages such as reputation or medical expenses. Often cases of personal injury in Washington include carelessness in vehicular impacts which can lead to the premise of liability if an individual is harmed or killed in the process. The following article will review a portion of the fundamental components of personal injury laws in Washington.


On the off chance that you need to make a claim for personal injury due to another driver’s negligence, you should demonstrate four components:

  • The at-fault party owed you a duty of care
  • The at-fault party breached their duty of care
  • The at-fault party’s breach of duty resulted in your injuries
  • You suffered damages as a result of your injuries

Similar Fault in Washington

There are situations where a harmed individual is somewhat at fault for their particular injuries. On the off chance that you share some level of blame for your injuries, the Washington law on personal injury applies an idea called the similar immaculate carelessness. This implies the damages you will recuperate will be diminished by a rate that is equivalent to your share of fault in the accident. For instance, if you recoup $10,000 and the judge or jury discovers that you are 20% to blame for the accident, your damage rewards will be valued at $8,000.

Strict Liability of Dog Attacks

Many states shield dog keepers from being at risk when their pets harm somebody for the first time, implying that they sensibly did not know the canine was dangerous. This is known as the one bite rule. However, in Washington, a canine owner is entirely at risk when their puppy harms somebody paying little respect to whether it is the first time or not.

Statute of Limitations

The window which you ought to file a claim is known as the statute of limitation. In Washington, the statute of limitation for making a personal injury claim is 3 years. In the event that you file a claim after three years, your case might be rejected, and you won’t get any remuneration.

No Damage Caps

A few states restrict the level of pay one can be granted for specific sorts of wounds. In Washington, there is not a maximum amount of injury grants. Truth be told, injury maximums are viewed as illegal in Washington.

If that you plan to file a personal injury claim against somebody who made you suffer injury, it is imperative to contact a Vancouver, WA personal injury lawyer from CCRS Law. Initially, your lawyer will assemble confirmation to demonstrate the negligence of the to blame party. Furthermore, your lawyer will exhortation you on the laws material in Washington and how to approach your case. At last, your lawyer will help you get an ideal harm grant by abusing the no damage cap law in Washington.

Spring Home Building Begins

If you are in the market to build a new home, Spring is typically the time you want to get started.  Home building continues to improve across the country as the economy continues to stabilize for most Americans.  Obviously, some areas of the country are seeing more home building starts than others, but overall, home construction is off to a pretty good start this spring.

With home values going up over the last couple of years, some people are selling their existing homes and looking to build new.  Home construction loans and other home mortgages are seeing more flexible guidelines, which is making it more attractive to individuals to purchase land and build their new dream home.

When building a new home there are typically several steps when financing the complete project.  In some cases, the home builder will finance the entire project through one of their preferred lenders.  In other cases, you may want to get a home construction loan package that typically pays off the land cost and then has an improvement and construction allowance that will pay for services as they are completed by contractors.  Once the home is finished, then the loan is rolled into a standard home mortgage.

Of course, one of the most important considerations is selecting a qualified home builder.  Stone Creek Building is a custom home builder in Portland, Oregon that specializes in building custom homes on the clients land.  They are a certified green home builder meaning they incorporate design elements, system and materials that create superior indoor air quality, use natural resources responsibly, protect land and lower water usage.

Are We Filing for Social Security Too Quickly?

These days, many people are living longer than they expect. There a significant amount of senior citizens in the 80’s and 90’s who are either in assisted living facilities or receiving regular home care. Many of these seasoned citizens didn’t expect to live past their late 60’s or early 70’s. This means that they may not have established a financial plan for this portion of their lives, and could have claimed Social Security too early.

According to Forbes, about two-fifths of all Americans receive retirement benefits around the age of 62. By doing so, many American pass up their chance to get 76% higher benefits by not waiting until they are 70 to claim retirement. Only 2% of Americans start claiming Social Security retirement once they turn 70.

Forbes asserts that there are three main reasons for this. The first reason is that many people are low on funds by the time they retire and needs to collect Social Security. The second reason is that Social Security tells the general public that whether we collect less money earlier or more money later, we’ll end up with the same amount on average. This is why many people don’t see the problem in collecting Social Security early. The third reason for early collection is superstition. Some people believe that by preparing for a longer life, they are asking for early death, and want to take advantage of their monetary benefits while they can.

This also indicates that there are three types of people who collect Social Security early: those who have no choice, those who are relying on and being misled by what Social Security indicates, and those who feel they are preparing for a short term future that may extend beyond their planning.

Social Security generally doesn’t account for the fact that many of its beneficiaries are now living into their mid to late 90s. Social Security also fails to realize that offering early collection date options is essentially like offering life insurance policies to senior citizens without explaining the policy clearly. When seniors forego their benefits for eight years or so to get higher benefits for the rest of their lives, this is similar to paying an insurance premium that results in more money when the senior citizen needs it.

Overall, seniors should consider that overall living can be expensive. A fulfilling and functional life can sometimes include prescriptions, glasses, home health aids, hearing aids and dental care. These things are not covered by Medicare. In addition to Social Security offices, it is imperative for seniors to create a solid and sequential financial plan that will provide them with an excellent quality of life for years to come.