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US Army suicides surged by 80 percent in 2004-2008, study finds

Since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, suicides in the U.S. Army have soared to levels that haven't been seen in three decades, several news agencies reported, citing findings from a recent military study.

Between 2004 and 2008, the Army study revealed a suicide surge of 80 percent, according to the U.S. Army Public Health Command, which cited study results of an analysis of data done by the Army Behavioral Health Integrated Data Environment.

About 40 percent of the suicides in 2008, for example, might be associated with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Bloomberg News reported.

The high number of suicides are "unprecedented in over 30 years of U.S. Army records," ABC News reported on the suicide rates, quoting the authors of the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Injury Prevention.

A separate study conducted by Veterans Affairs found that veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with mental health diagnoses, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder, were significantly more likely to receive prescriptions for oxycodone, hydrocodone and other opioids than those with pain but no mental health issues.

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