The opioid crisis is certainly wreaking havoc across all segments of America’s population. And one group that has been hit particularly hard are military veterans. To help bring that issue to the forefront, famed Delta Force operator Norman Hooten is launching a campaign to assist current and former servicemen battling addiction.
Hooten gained notoriety back in 2002, when his story was told on the big screen in the famed movie Black Hawk Down. His heroics were legendary and to his credit, Hooten has continued to use his fame for good causes. This past decade he earned a doctorate in pharmacology, and he’s been using that degree for a high-profile partnership with the U.S. Veterans Administration (also known as the “VA“).
When speaking to People Magazine, Hooten shared an all-too-common story about some of his battle brethren. Two fellow officers who were with him during the famed Black Hawk Down Battle of Mogadishu survived fully intact. The tragedy was, they successfully fought their way through war but eventually died on U.S. soil due to substance abuse.
“When they come home and die of opioid overdose, I couldn’t wrap my head around it,” Hooten told People. “I started to realize how bad the opioid epidemic was and I decided to do something about it.”
Now as a VA pharmacist, Hooten is using his previous notoriety to educate fellow vets about the dangers of addiction. He continually speaks nationally and authors online blogs and articles that are shared with those who are enlisted. Hooten is also working to reduce the shame stigma often associated with addiction. He knows firsthand how traumatic going into battle can be and how common it is for those who have served to use substances as a coping mechanism.
The VA is extremely proud of Hooten’s work and his second career as a military pharmacist.
“Norman Hooten’s dedication and commitment to serving his fellow veterans is what VA is all about,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie added in the article. “Other veterans should consider following his lead, choosing to give back to our nation’s heroes.”
Clearly Hooten’s feel-good story is having an impact. The People article became one of their most-shared stories of the past month and social media responses have been overwhelmingly positive. Though there is no denying that we have a long way to go to free veterans from the opioid crisis, people like Norman Hooten are making a very positive first step.