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By nytimes.com

After the United States withdrew troops from Iraq in 2011, thousands of combat troops were expelled from the force with less than honorable discharges as the military came under pressure to downsize quickly. This left a large number of veterans — including many kicked out for minor infractions — without access to health care and other benefits that are granted to service members who leave the armed forces with honorable discharges.

After being cut off from care and benefits, many turned to drugs and painkillers, often to relieve physical pain and mental distress that resulted from combat. Some wound up homeless. Others killed themselves.

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