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- U.S.: Soldiers' opiate use on the increase
From 2004-2009 U.S. Army Opiate Addiction Treatment Enrollment Rose by 500%
The number of soldiers enrolling in military opiate addiction treatment programs increased by 500% between 2004 and 2009.
In 2004, 89 soldiers enrolled in an opiate addiction treatment program, by 2009 that number had jumped to 529; and half of that increase occurred in 2009 alone, in response, say experts, to an upsurge in troops being sent to heroin laden Afghanistan.
Opiate use in the world’s leading opium poppy producing nation is a problem for the US military, with experts conceding that heroin use is widespread and easily available, even on American military bases. Ex-American soldiers who served in Afghanistan report that heroin use is especially common amongst Afghani soldiers.
Although more U.S. troops are requiring treatment than in previous years, the Army has caught very few of its soldiers testing positive for opiate use through its random drug testing program.