Sending Office: Honorable Mike Coffman
As you know, the statistics related to veteran suicide and the overprescription of drugs to our nation’s veterans are striking. Every day, an average of 20 veterans die from suicide, and in 2014, veterans accounted for 18% of all deaths from suicide. The
risk of suicide is 21% higher for veterans than for the average U.S. adult. Furthermore, since 2001, we have seen a dramatic increase in narcotics prescriptions, and in the largest veteran populations, veterans die from accidental narcotic overdose at a 33%
higher rate than the rest of the population.
Congress must take action to combat these tragic deaths. That is why we introduced H.R. 2652,
the Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act. This bill would direct the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to contract with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a full, thorough, and independent
review of the VA’s drug prescription practices and to look at all those veterans receiving VA treatment who died by suicide in the last five years.
One goal of the bill is to ensure the VA has accurate information about any possible relationship between veteran suicides and prescription medications. Another goal is to direct the VA to perform a more comprehensive review of its behavioral health workforce
with a focus on mental health counselors. We believe improvements in the VA’s management and staffing of this portion of its work force will increase access to services and help reduce the incidence of suicide.
As combat veterans, we ask you to join us in cosponsoring this important bill. Our veterans deserve the best healthcare in the world and this legislation is a vital step toward ensuring the VA delivers that top care for our veterans.
For more information or to cosponsor H.R. 2652, the Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act, please contact Katharine Denby (Katharine.Denby@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-CO) office or
Kenji Igawa (Kenji.Igawa@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Seth Moulton’s (D-MA) office.
Mike Coffman Seth Moulton
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