Investigating Accidental Soldier Deaths

The military is looking into what it believes are the accidental deaths of wounded troops, possibly from the use of a combination of prescription and non-prescription drugs.

The Army's top doctor pointed to the recent death of actor Heath Ledger, which was found to be the result of his taking six types of painkillers and sedatives. And Lieutenant General Eric Schoomaker, the Army's surgeon general, says the deaths of solders in what are called "warrior transition units" may also be the unintentional result of a combination of various medicines and sometimes alcohol.

The "warrior transition units" were set up last year for troops who are sick or injured, or who have war wounds. They are given coordinated medical care, financial advice and other services as they prepare for a return to uniform or to civilian life.

Schoomaker didn't say how many deaths there had been, and said he didn't know if the number of overdoses among soldiers is on the rise.


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