It is no secret that substance abuse is an issue that plagues many in both our society and the military. The abuse of prescription drugs, especially painkillers, anxiety and anti-depressant’s, is on the rise and the influx of PTSD and depression that we have seen since the start of the Global War on Terror only increases and magnifies the potential for those suffering from these issues to fall victim to substance abuse.
While it is difficult to place the blame in situations like this, it is easy to see that those who over-prescribe and give others easy access to these drugs are guilty of enabling those who deal with these issues and further perpetuating this issue. Now, one of the individuals guilty of doing just this is being held accountable for his actions.
Charged last week on the same day that the FBI searched his clinic, Michael P. Schuster of Manhattan Pain and Spine stands accused of conspiring to illegally distribute controlled substances. Located in Manhattan, Kansas, Schuster’s Clinic is approximately 15 miles away from the home of the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley.
Starting last year after the local police received notifications that Schuster was issuing out high-dosage prescriptions with little accord to do so, the investigation of Schuster and his clinic was only furthered as reports from the Medical staff at Fort Riley regarding several cases of fatal overdoses of soldiers and their family members whom Schuster had treated made their way to the Army Criminal Investigative Division.
It was reported that while Schuster was the only one in the clinic certified to prescribe controlled substances, he would often sign off on blank prescription notes for staff members to issue out while he would travel back to his home country of Russia.
Initial reports state that he was gone from the office when 542 patients were issued prescriptions, and that he and his clinic attracted patients who are suspected of illegally selling prescription drugs.
If in the investigation, it turns out that the prescriptions he and his office issued contributed to death and bodily injuries, he could be facing a fine of up to $1 million and a sentence of a minimum of 20 years in prison. While Schuster and his clinic are on the way to being shut down entirely, all too often these pill farms go unnoticed and many who become addicted to these prescription drugs and turn to self-medication ultimately end up taking heavy tolls on their own lives and in increasing numbers, take it over the edge.
It is therefore not only the job of the prescriber or the recipient but of our society as a whole to do what we can to limit this abuse and be your brothers-keeper so to speak. While there are efforts on the part of third party groups to reform the way Veterans receive treatment for the physical, mental and emotional scars that they bear when returning from the frontlines, there is still a long way to go in order to limit the casualties of the invisible wars that many fight on their own.
Read the whole story at: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/04/24/claim-kansas-pill-mill-tied-to-soldier-overdoses.html