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The Military and Pharmaceuticals: A Dangerous Mix, Article Critique Example

Pages: 1

Words: 354

Article Critique

In his article, A Prescription for Tragedy, author Yochi J. Dreazen delves into the problem of soldier suicides that is plaguing America’s armed forces.  Dreazen makes the argument that the rise in suicides among military veterans eerily mimics the rise in the number of soldiers prescribed antidepressants and serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, such as Prozac, Celexa and Neurontin.  Facts are given, including current army statistics regarding suicide rates and the number of troops prescribed the drugs. A personal story is also related, of a despondent marine who, while on antidepressants and suicide watch, killed himself, leaving behind a widow and two young children. The author presents, but cannot answer the question that begs to be asked: would the young marine have killed himself had he not been on the drug Neurontin?

The authors argument is well founded. It is curious how, despite putting a label on the drug Neurontin, that it may actually cause psychotic and suicidal thoughts, a Pfizer spokesman is quoted as calling Neurontin as “an important FDA-approved medication.”  However, while the battle of words continue between the pharmaceutical companies and the FDA, soldiers are suffering, and their suffering is told in the staggering numbers of them committing suicide. The story of the young soldier, Sgt. Tom Bagosy, is tragic and does not put the current military policy for dealing with young men in Bagosy’s situation in a good light.

The article could have been strengthened by offering more in depth information concerning the cause of the soldiers psychotic states in the first place. If it is what they are encountering in in the war, then is their state not directly related to their work as soldiers? Any time an employee is injured in the field, it is the company’s responsibility to compensate them. U.S. troops deserve no less. Instead of pumping these depressed soldiers full of pills, greater care through counseling and rehabilitation should be offered to them. Dreazen makes an important point that not enough is being done to help these suicidal soldiers, and their death is a real national tragedy.

Works Cited

Dreazen, Yochi J. (October, 2010). A Prescription for Tragedy. National Journal, 22.

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