Prescription drug misuse (PDM) is of critical concern for the military because of its potential impact on military readiness, the health and well-being of military personnel, and associated health care costs. The purpose of this study is to summarize insights gleaned from a series of activities that the RAND Corporation undertook for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness to address this important health and military readiness issue. The authors completed a review of U.S. Department of Defense policies and a comprehensive literature review of clinical guidelines and the empirical literature on the prevention and treatment of PDM and conducted individual face-to-face interviews with 66 health and behavioral health care providers at nine medical treatment facilities across three regions within the contiguous United States to identify best practices in the prevention, identification, and treatment of PDM and the extent to which those practices are known and followed. The study also presents the framework of an analytic tool that, once informed by data available to the military but not available to the authors, can assist the military in predicting future trends in PDM based on current demographics of active-duty service members and rates of injury and prescribing of prescription drugs. The findings from this work led the authors to formulate a set of key insights that they believe might improve the rapid identification and treatment of service members dealing with PDM, thereby improving future force readiness.
Pacula RL, Hunter SB, Ober AJ, Osilla KC, Vardavas R, Blanchard JC, DeVries D, Drabo EF, Leuschner KJ, Stewart W, Walters J. (2017). Preventing, Identifying, and Treating Prescription Drug Misuse Among Active-Duty Service Members. Rand health quarterly, 7(1)