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Number of Soldiers Seeking Opiate Abuse Treatment Skyrockets

The number of American soldiers seeking treatment for opiate abuse has skyrocketed over the past five years, at a time when the U.S. military has been surging forces into the heart of the world’s leading opium producer.

By Judson Berger / FOX News

The number of American soldiers seeking treatment for opiate abuse has skyrocketed over the past five years, at a time when the U.S. military has been surging forces into the heart of the world’s leading opium producer.

Pentagon statistics obtained by FoxNews.com show that the number of Army soldiers enrolled in Substance Abuse Program counseling for opiates has soared nearly 500 percent — from 89 in 2004 to 529 last year. The number showed a steady increase almost every year in that time frame — but it leaped 50 percent last year when the U.S. began surging troops into Afghanistan. Army troop levels in Afghanistan went from 14,000 as of the end of 2004 to 46,400 as of the end of 2009.

The Army did not break down the opiate-use data to show how many of the soldiers had been deployed to Afghanistan or what specific opiates they were using; opiate drugs include morphine, codeine and heroin.

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