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Texas Department of Veterans Affairs to Track Deaths

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    The Department of Veterans Affairs in Texas will conduct a mortality study to track causes of death for veterans putting together a model that could allow similar data to be gathered nationwide.

    The department's decision came two months after an Austin American-Statesman investigation found that nearly as many Texas veterans died from prescription medicines as from suicide.

    The newspaper says it used autopsy and toxicology reports, inquests and accident reports from more than 50 state agencies to determine the causes of death for 266 Texas veterans who had been receiving disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs when they died.

    The department says its study will look at veterans who served in combat. The VA officials declined to say how the study would be used nationally.