Painkiller Addiction Treatment Widened

NGAUS Washington Report

(Nov. 5, 2013) With painkiller addiction on the rise among its troops, the Defense Department will allow TRICARE to pay for broader treatment of the addiction. The rule that goes into effect Nov. 21 allows TRICARE to pay for certain drug treatments used in substance abuse cases.

Army Times says the new rule allows drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine to be added to the list of treatments covered by TRICARE. Because of their potentially addictive nature, the drugs were covered only for short detoxification efforts or pain management.

But the medical community now sees them as valuable in battling addictions to such opiate painkillers as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, the newspaper reported last week.

The Institute of Medicine urged the Pentagon one year ago to consider this change.

Because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, painkiller use has soared in the military, along with addictions. Between 2000 and 2011, the rate of addiction increased more than 500 percent.