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MARK UDALL senare janrormcr auto United States Senate WASHINGTON, D¢ 20510 May 18, 2010 General Peter Chiarelli Vice Chief of Staff of the Amy 1400 Defense Pentagon Washington DC 20301-1400 Dear General Chiarelli: ‘Thank you for your recent visits to the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Fort Carson. We understand that the care of our wounded and injured soldiers is a top priority for the Army, and during our recent visits to Ft. Carson, it was clear that the time and energy that has been dedicated to improving conditions and treatment regiments for WTB soldiers has produced positive results. We appreciate the important work provided by WTBs nationwide and believe that this program has, in many ways, proven successful in preparing wounded warriors to rejoin their units or for reintegration into civilian society. The accomplishments of Warrior Transition Command's soldiers and cadre are worthy of recognition, but we are also mindful of the work that remains as we address the wide variety of physical and psychological injuries afflicting our combat veterans, During our recent visits to the Fort Carson WTB, we had the opportunity to speak with soldiers, clinicians, and cadre about their experiences and about the recent media reports regarding the unit. We heard a number of very positive comments about policies that should be sustained, and there were several issues that we believe require further investigation and follow-up. First, we expect that — as part of the Amy Inspector General’s ongoing Army-wide analysis of Warrior Transition Battalions ~ the IG is examining the Army's prescription medication practices. Based on published reports and our personal conversations with WTB soldiers, clinicians, and cadre, we are concemed about the amount and combinations of medications that are being prescribed to soldiers across the Warrior Transition Command. Polypharmacy has been raised as the primary concern of many patients and cadre, and we are concerned about the short- and long-term consequences of what has been described as the “overmedication” of our soldiers. Second, the leadership at Fort Carson has implemented programs and policies that appear to have led to a significant reduction in the incidences of soldier violence and self-harm that prompted the Epidemiological Consultation (EPICON) in 2008, As we noted in a letter to the Surgeon General of the Army in July 2009, we expect that the Army will implement practices based on lessons learned from the EPICON and provide an update on how those programs are being put into use. For example, the EPICON noted that the vast majority of soldiers accused of committing violent crimes had abused alcohol or illegal drugs but that fewer than half had been referred to the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), A follow-on report should address how this and other findings in the EPICON have been addressed throughout the Army and the steps the Army has taken to find and implement best practices for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. Finally, given that alcohol and substance abuse appears to be a common problem for soldiers suffering from chronic pain and behavioral health issues, we would request again that the Army consider expanding the Confidential Alcohol Treatment and Education Pilot (CATEP) program, which allows soldiers to self-refer for alcohol abuse without notifying their leadership. CATEP appears to be a promising program that could have significant benefits for soldiers throughout the Army and Warrior Transition Command, and we would appreciate seeing it expanded to include Fort Carson, Thank you for your service to our country and for your dedication to our soldiers. Mark Udall Michael F. Bennet U.S. Senator US. Senator Lieutenant General Steven Whitcomb, Inspector General, United States Army