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Q: The opioid epidemic crisis is on the news nearly every night. I understand that it involves over-prescribing opioid painkillers that can lead to addiction to the drug or problematic interaction with other prescribed medications.

After military service, pain management of injuries that occurred during service are a major concern to many veterans. What is the VA doing to ensure that veterans who have severe pain issues do not end up becoming addicted to the “solution”?

A: A major VA study of opioid use among veterans was released July 31 and indicated that VA recognizes the danger in over-prescribing opioids for pain management, and poor communication between VA and non-VA doctors caring for the same patient. The VA implemented internal processes and technologies to minimize the problem. However, many veterans who receive health care also obtain health care from non-VA doctors and facilities.

Many times, the veteran’s VA health care record does not reflect the medications prescribed and acquired from non-VA sources. This can put veterans at a significant risk for serious medication interaction and unintentional or intentional overdose. The study established a guideline for all non-VA providers and recommended that the VA require non-VA providers to submit opioid prescriptions directly to a VA pharmacy.

It will take some time to fully implement these changes. In the meantime, if you are a veteran who is receiving opioids through the VA, a VA-referred doctor or your private non-VA provider, make sure that you tell your VA provider what the non-VA provider is prescribing.

Did you know?

The McLean County court system along with four adjoining counties (Ford, Livingston, Logan and Woodford) will implement a veterans court in McLean County in January 2018. Illinois law mandates each county establish a veterans court.

The Veterans Justice Outreach Program helps ensure that eligible, justice-involved veterans have timely access to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services.

VJO specialists provide direct outreach, assessment and case management in local courts and jails and liaison with local justice system partners. The VA does not provide legal services, but social workers have knowledge of appropriate legal services in the veteran’s local community. Contact Ginger Garner at Ginger.Garner@va.gov or 217-554-7340 or 09-589-6800, Ext. 47251, for more information.

Event

The McLean County Museum of History, Illinois Voices Theatre and Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, along with Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington, announce a cemetery walk commemorating the centennial of World War I.

The walk will be 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sept. 30, and Oct. 1, 7-8 at Evergreen Cemetery. Advance sales begin Sept. 5 at $17 general public, $14 museum members and $5 for those under 18 and students with ID. Advance general public and member sales at least 24 hours before the event are discounted $2 per ticket. There is no discount on children's tickets.

Veterans Corner publishes Monday. It is written by the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission, 200 W. Front St., Bloomington, IL 61701; call 309-888-5140.

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