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Why veterans are twice as likely to die from overdoses

Reuters

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REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

Opioid drug abuse has killed more Americans than the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars combined, and U.S. veterans and advocates are focusing on how to help victims of the crisis.

Veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans to die from accidental overdoses of the highly addictive painkillers, a rate that reflects high levels of chronic pain among vets, particularly those who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to federal data.

U.S. government and healthcare officials have been struggling to stem the epidemic of overdoses, which killed more than 64,000 Americans in the 12 months ending last January alone, a 21 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. About 65,000 Americans died in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump named opioids a national public health emergency and a White House commission last week recommended establishing a nationwide system of drug courts and easier access to alternatives to opioids for people in pain.

“Our veterans deserve better than polished sound bites and empty promises,” said former Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy, a recovering addict and a member of the president’s opioid commission.

Kennedy said in an e-mail that more funding was needed for treatment facilities and medical professionals to help tackle the problem.

One effort to address the issue has stalled in Congress – the proposed Veterans Overmedication Prevention Act, sponsored by Senator John McCain. That measure is aimed at researching ways to help Veterans Administration doctors rely less on opioids in treating chronic pain.

“The Veterans Administration needs to understand whether overmedication of drugs, such as opioid pain-killers, is a contributing factor in suicide-related deaths,” McCain, one of the nation’s most visible veterans, said in an e-mail on Thursday. He noted that 20 veterans take their lives each day, a suicide rate 21 percent higher than for other U.S. adults.

The VA system has stepped up its efforts to address the crisis, having treated some 68,000 veterans for opioid addiction since March, said Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Curtis Cashour.

The department’s Louis Stokes VA Center in Cleveland has also begun testing alternative treatments, including acupuncture and yoga, to reduce use of and dependency on the drugs, the VA said.

A delay in naming a Trump administration “drug czar” to head the effort, however, has fueled doubts about immediate action on the opioid crisis. Last month the White House nominee, Representative Tom Marino, withdrew from consideration following a report he spearheaded a bill that hurt the government’s ability to crack down on opioid makers.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Dan Grebler

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Living

15 Works of ART that will motivate you to get your life together PRONTO!

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Ikonick.com

The internet is filled with motivational quotes aimed to inspire people to get off their phone and live their best life! If only double-tapping an inspirational quote on Insta would actually prompt due action to get the success you know you deserve, then everyone would be as rich and happy as Bob Saget.

Graphic design king Jeff Cole realized inspirational memes won’t do shit for your success unless their design is dope and their message doesn’t disappear after looking away from your phone. The vision needs to be a reminder in constant view. Right in front of your face. On your wall. Cole’s online canvas art company, Ikonick, has a collection of unique images that will likely give you the push you need to stop wanting a better life and commence action.(Better than the Weekend has three pieces hanging in the office.)

Here’s some that you may want to add to your wall.

You Can’t Deposit Excuses ATM

Stop Watching 

Talent

Level Up

Forbes List

Ingredient For Success & Success Marks The Spot

Money Hungry

No Risk. No Reward.

Mind Of A Hustler. Heart Of A King. 

Remember Why You Started

Chance

Nobody Cares

Leave Your Excuses At The Door

The entire collection can be viewed on ikonick.com or Instagram @ikonick.

Now go follow us on Instagram @betterthantheweekend. And then go call your mom and tell her you love her.

 

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Living

Vintage Frat Is the Life of the Party on Instagram Right Now, Possibly Forever

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Gone are the days of moms and dads knocking on wood that social media didn’t exist when they were young, dumb and figuring out the world. Remnants of debauchery from past generations are resurfacing on @vintagefrat, an Instagram account paying homage to legendary fraternity throwbacks.

Here’s some of the of the most lit pics from Vintage Fraternity. (Warning: You may see your mom or dad.)

“Hello Ladies, welcome to pledgeship. I’ll be your guide.”

Saturday’s are for the Brothers. 

Take a moment to respect the most legendary composite of all time. 

Daytona Beach ’89 was wild. #AskYourDad

There was always that one Brother who understood the meaning of life. 

Here’s why your dad’s friends call him Superman. 

And here’s when your dad met your mom. 

Reminding the children of the future that House Hounds need to be the focus of every fraternity house.

And here’s a reminder that Benny the Beaver was probably with your girl. 

Tribute to the Brother who didn’t even attend one class all semester.

Classic Spring Break transportation. 

Sure, Greek Life has it’s fair share of wild times.  

But @vintagefrat is a solid reminder that Greek Life is also a resume builder, putting students in positions that prepare them for the future. 

Mainly, Greek Life is about togetherness. #NeverForget #AskYourDad

Go follow @vintagefrat on Instagram and then follow @betterthantheweekend.

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Why University of Scranton Is the Perfect Place to Find a Husband

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I’m a senior at The University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I’m here to tell you why my school is the perfect place to find a husband.

From the day I arrived as a freshman in search of a degree and a good time, I was told I should also search for a husband here by upperclassmen who were taking courses toward their ‘MRS’ degree. (That’s Mrs., a.k.a. a master’s degree in finding a man.) Oh, they exist. If they haven’t landed a man by the fall semester of their senior year, they’re adding extra credit hours in getting a ring by spring.

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It’s not like I can blame them. I acknowledge that there’s certainly some good looking guys at this school — it’s hard not to.

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But I couldn’t see myself spending the rest of my life with one. You see, there’s a distinct type of guy that typically goes to this school. They’re the epitome of a rich, preppy white guy.

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They tuck in their pastel button-down shirts and sport a pair of loafers to hit the bar scene on a Friday night. Their idea of dressing down is wearing a $42 plain-white Vineyard Vine T-Shirt. They dress like a middle-aged, balding, career-crazed father of three.

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Oh, and they drink like one, too. They basically look and act like a stereotypical man in their 40s who is unhappy with his wife, life, and needs to binge-drink, binge-smoke and binge-fuck his way out of jumping out of the top floor of the Wall Street skyscraper he works in.

Meanwhile, all I want is a cute guy who takes his schoolwork seriously, has a little height on me and wants to eat chicken wings off my curvy bottom.

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But my options seem to be limited to college boys who look like they’re trying to impersonate their fathers.

I guess the girls who told me The University of Scranton is the perfect place to find a husband were right. I just didn’t know they looked like a 42-year-old alumni’s husband.

I guess my only chance at getting a ring by spring is if one of them saves the dad-look for when they actually work on Wall Street. But I’m cool enjoying my senior year with my friends. My philosophy in life is that everything happens for a reason and plans are a waste of time.

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