Documents reveal supply of 47 tons of controlled drugs to US military — Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reports
Annual Department of Defense amphetamine consumption alone is 15.6 million tablets
English translation of the report, the original in Bulgarian is here.
The Pentagon is shipping dozens of tons of controlled drugs to U.S. military bases around the world, documents obtained by the U.S. Federal Register of Contracts reveal. The U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) has contracted with fourteen U.S. airlines to transport military cargo, including sensitive cargo (narcotics) to various locations around the world. The delivery schedule shows a planned total of 47.5 tons of controlled drugs (2018–2023) to U.S. military bases overseas.
The projected quantity for Romania alone is 10 tons of controlled drugs, Kosovo is 5 tons, and Estonia is 2 tons, while the projected shipments of controlled drugs to the other destinations are in a significantly smaller quantity of 898 kg per base (the quantities shown in the document are measured in the U.S. unit of lbs, 1 lbs equals 0.453592 kg).
Kosovo — 11 117 lbs (2018–2023) or 5 042 kg
Romania — 21 607 lbs (2018–2023) or 9 800 kg
Malatya — 2803 lbs (2018–2023) or 1271 kg
Erbil — 1457 lbs (2018–2023) or 660 kg
Estonia — 4 516 lbs (2018–2023) or 2 048 kg
The total quantity of controlled drugs to be supplied is 47 560 kg (2018–2023).
US Army — the largest user of controlled drugs in the world
The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a $23 million contract (2020–2025) for the supply of amphetamines, according to another federal order posted on the U.S. Federal Contracts Register.
According to the contract notice, the annual consumption by the Department of Defense alone is 15.6 million amphetamine tablets.
Amphetamine — a widely used drug in the US military
According to US combat veterans, amphetamine (Adderall and its generic version Dextroaphetamine/Amphetamine) is regularly prescribed to soldiers to improve their performance, even though amphetamine use is banned in the US military. However, the drug is widely prescribed to treat soldiers with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and narcolepsy. Prescribed amounts range from 5 to 30 mg and the dose increases over time, starting at 5 mg to 30 mg twice daily. For a soldier in a combat role, the allowed dose is 10 mg of amphetamine, an American veteran of the war in Afghanistan who was prescribed Adderall told Objectivo.BG.
6145 adverse event reports related to Adderall and Adderall XR have been logged in the US Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting (FAER) system from 1994 to 31 March 2020. Of these, 3251 were serious and involved 202 deaths.
Drug addiction and overprescribing is a major problem in the U.S. military.
Lack of control
A recently released Department of Defense Inspector General audit found that there is a lack of oversight of opioid prescribing in the U.S. military. The audit states:
“By examining patient records, we identified examples of beneficiaries at the three military treatment facilities we reviewed who may have been overprescribed opioids from 2015 through 2017. For example, a beneficiary received an average of 450 MME per day (morphine) for 16 months, which is five times the recommended maximum dose of 90 MME that chronic pain patients should avoid.”
Another 2020 audit by the Pentagon’s inspector general, an Audit of Pharmaceutical Management in Support of the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility, found that the Defense Department does not control how controlled drugs are stored and used. Inspectors visited eight medical treatment facilities, four medical logistics facilities, a U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Southwest Asia (USAMMC-SWA), and three USAMMC-SWA forward logistics centers located in Qatar, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.
According to the audit, as a result of the accountability and security deficiencies identified at the treatment facilities, medical logistics facilities, USAMMC-SWA warehouse, and USAMMC-SWA logistics centers, controlled drugs at these locations are potentially subject to loss, theft, and illicit use.
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