Nearly 17 veterans die by suicide each day in the United States, a statistic that has led the Department of Veterans Affairs to make suicide prevention its highest priority and to recognize the risks from the simultaneous use of opioids and benzodiazepines. To tackle the issue, the VA asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) to convene a committee of experts to evaluate the effects of opioid and benzodiazepine use on all-cause mortality of U.S. veterans, including suicide.

Institute co-director Dr. Amy Bohnert has been appointed to the Committee, which will focus on the effect of opioid prescribing for pain, relative to alternative non-opioid pain treatments; the effects of higher doses relative to lower doses of opioids; the effect of co-prescribing a benzodiazepine among patients already receiving opioids, relative to alternative treatments for anxiety and other indications for benzodiazepines; and the effect of initiating opioids among patients already taking benzodiazepines.

Learn more about the Committee