For Veterans “Coming Home” The VA Announces Its Opioid Safety Initiative

The Academy Awards….and war veterans

This Sunday a lot of us will take a few hours to watch the 86th Academy Awards ceremony. We all have our favorite nominated movies and certainly our favorite actors and actresses who we would like to see receive an Oscar, but today it occurred to us that this year there is one nominee for best actor who was also nominated for best actor in a supporting role in 1979. That actor is Bruce Dern. Yes, 35 years ago Bruce Dern was nominated for his portrayal of Vietnam War veteran Marine Captain Bob Hyde in Coming Home. This year Bruce Dern is recognized by the Academy and nominated for best actor for his portrayal of a Korean War veteran in Nebraska.

Coming Home was nominated for eight (8) Oscars and won three (3), Nebraska has been nominated for six (6) Oscars…and we will see what happens this Sunday.

Since the making of the film Coming Home, for generations of Americans the phrase “coming home” has become forever associated with the image of veterans returning from war and all that they experience when  acclimating to civilian life with or without temporary or permanent physical and/or emotional wounds. 

ABCNews New Series “Coming Home: America’s Promise”

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here. This report was produced by the combined efforts of The Center for Investigative Reporting and ABC News’ Bryon Pitts reporting. 

The Veterans Administration introduces their Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI)

On February 25, 2014, the Veterans Administration(VA) issued a press release which previewed their new approach to reduce opioid use by veterans.

The Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI) is a comprehensive effort to improve the quality of life for the hundreds of thousands of Veterans suffering from chronic pain. Launched in October 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, OSI is already demonstrating success in lowering dependency on this class of drugs. At eight sites of care in Minnesota, OSI practices have decreased high-dose opioid use by more than 50 percent. OSI incorporates the team approach with the goal of reducing opioid use by alleviating a Veterans’ pain using non-prescription methods. There is an emphasis on patient education, close patient monitoring with frequent feedback and Complementary and Alternative Medicine practices like acupuncture.

For sure, it was determined that the VA had to make adjustments and determine a way to treat chronic pain in ways other than opioids. The Center for Investigative Reporting discovered that the opioid prescription rate for veterans increased by 270 percent from 2001 and 2012. They are now incorporating acupuncture, behavior therapy and yoga in their treatment plan. Since October 2013 the number of veterans receiving opioid prescriptions through the VA has decreased by 20,000. 


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