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Calling All Veterans

Veterans walking down the street carrying the American flag.
Photo courtesy of NYC Marines

Joint Opinions

Calling All Veterans

Today 22 veterans will commit suicide. Yesterday, 22 vets committed suicide. Tomorrow another 22 vets will commit suicide. And the day after and the day after that… until veterans do something.

I was a USAF veteran from 1970 – 1974. I came from a family of veterans, but I was one of the lucky ones that didn’t go to Vietnam. I went to Thailand where all of us Southeast Asian (SEA) vets had the chance to try the world’s best ganja while there.

We served. We went where we were supposed to and did what we were told. It was in the job description.

In my opinion, there is no doubt that it was the Vietnam and SEA veterans that demonstrated how popular self-treating is for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Of course, back then terms like “self-medicate” weren’t as popular as they are today. And while pot was popular then, there’s a new gold rush era now.

Over the last few years, suicide rates among military veterans have dramatically increased. While suicide rates among older veterans has slightly decreased, there was a 44 percent increase among male veterans under 30.

“Their rates are astronomically high and climbing,” said Jan Kemp, the national mental health director for suicide prevention under Veterans Affairs. “That’s concerning to us.”

While the country is great at paying lip service to vets, the reality is far different as demonstrated in the latest gasping over flaws in the VA medical system. And if weed is involved, heaven help us.

At the University of Arizona, Dr. Sue Sisley, a clinical assistant professor in the college of medicine, was recently terminated from her position after spending four years trying to conduct a study on veterans and using cannabis for PTSD.

CNN reports that “State Sen. Kimberly Yee, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, singlehandedly blocked a bill that would allow the use of surplus state funds toward the study — and others on the beneficial effects of medical marijuana — by refusing to allow a hearing for the House-passed bill.”

According to her campaign website, Yee was called a “rising star” by the Republican National Committee, but Yee is hardly a star. To block this important research is to defy decency and flips veterans a big middle finger salute.

Well Senator Yee, back at you. You should ask Dwight Holton, candidate for Oregon Attorney General in 2012 how wise it is to piss off the cannabis community. Mr. Holton had a sizeable lead in the polls and funding when he went up against Ellen Rosenblum in the Democrat’s primary race. When the dust had settled, Holton lost almost 2 to 1. Here in Oregon we call it the
NotDwight campaign.

I may be in Oregon but I would lend a hand in a NotYee effort.

So, veterans — get registered and get active. We weren’t just trained as cannon fodder, we know how to take care of business on the home front, too.

Are you a veteran that self-medicates? Tell us about your experiences.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. M

    August 7, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Hmm. It behooves the enemy to do anything in its power to dismantle the American vet as a way of disrupting the fight. Vets suffering from depression and alienation are a Muslim Terrorist’s wet dream . . . it serves as an example to would be soldiers to not join because of all the BS returning soldiers face, which helps the enemy. Legally speaking based on this criteria: Mrs. Yee is allied with the Muslim Terrorist (even if she doesn’t know it). What Mrs. Yee did was treason during war and cruel and unusual punishment (so Yee has transplanted herself to be above our courts and U.S. Constitution when dishing out sentences–Crime: void–Punishment: PTSD).

    Because 22 Vets do kill themselves a day and many Vets claim Cannabis to be treatment and even many physicians and councilors say so to, thus Yee is active in giving aid to our enemy during a time of war . . . what she did by getting the program closed is commit sabotage. If this was WWII, Yee would legally be a Nazi or Japanese sympathizer, but since we are not in WWII, it is only logical to assume she is a Muslim Terrorist Sympathizer (even if she is unaware) . . . there is more truth in Yee committing treason during a time of war than marijuana turning someone into a Bat or causing them to kill with an ax. Legal Pot could do wonders for the Military in regards to medicine and a non-alcoholic intoxicant and it will lead to hemp being utilize for war supplies as well. What Yee is doing is offsetting legal pot for the military, which is treason. We could have far more hearts and minds if the American Army could smoke pot with the Afghani Army, which is very common. Legally speaking: She is a Muslim Terrorist Sympathizer (especially considering legal pot could reduce VA healthcare, thus sending much of that money back to the soldier and the war). She’s messing with the wrong crowd. Actions do speak louder than words. It might sound ridiculous to call her a Muslim Terrorist Sympathizer, but then again, the world revolving around the sun sounded like a fool’s notion as well–right–considering I always see that bright sucker change its location throughout the day? Treason and sabotage comes in many different forms, shapes and sizes. And what she does keeps cannabis prohibition alive in well in the U.S., which influences said prohibition in many parts of the world and God knows how many American soldiers died as a result of terrorists and insurgents being financed by illegal cannabis revenue, which further proves she is a Muslim Terrorist Sympathizer . . . even Mrs. Yee knows that illicit cannabis funds crime and terrorism and such knowledge drenches ones hands with blood when engaging in ‘treason’. So, technically speaking, Yee knows she gives aid to the enemy, even if it is only a subconscious knowledge.

  2. NorCalNative

    August 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Allan, thanks for taking on this issue of veteran suicides. I’m not part of your targeted audience I had to register for the draft but it ended a couple of months before I turned 18.

    What I want to tell you about is a Eugene, Oregon physician named Pamela Wilbe. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you already know about her. Her claim to fame is establishing “community-designed” IDEAL health clinics run by solo Family Practice physicians.

    The reason I bring her up is because she’s been called the “Martin Luther King” of health care. She currently has a post up at a web blog called KevinMD. In her article she posts several dozen or more SUICIDE letters she has collected from PHYSICIANS.

    Her blog has the complete list of suicide letters and I’ve never said this on the internet before, but it’s a MUST READ! I stayed up till 3:00 in the morning recently because I couldn’t drag myself away from what I was reading. I shed more-than-a-few-tears.

    I’ve been really rough on Western medicine SPECIFICALLY because of the cannabis issue but I WILL NEVER LOOK AT A DOCTOR THE SAME WAY AGAIN after reading these cries for help.

    Let’s face it, no matter who we are, we all have different masks we wear in different situations. Some of us have whole collections. But, we all LOVE THE TRUTH, and people getting ready to kill themselves usually are pretty damn honest about what’s really bothering them. If YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE STATE OF OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, and why it’s so messed up it’s contained in these letters!!!!!

    Our doctors are hurting because our system is crushing their spirit. Over and over in the letters the words, bully and bullying were in the suicide letters. The people who are trained to help heal US, are in trouble themselves. They’re stressed out, overworked and apparently bullied in a fuck-up Darwinian contest.

    I’m giving my doctor a big hug next time I have an appointment and I plan on giving every doctor I see from now on a hug. And, I’m going to ask them how they’re doing and if they eating right and getting enough rest and taking care of themselves.

    I guarantee that anyone who takes a look at those letters of suicide and attempted suicides will never look at our medical system the same way again. We really need to help one another by asking people how they’re doing and mean it.

  3. Ras Ible

    August 7, 2014 at 3:07 am

    Disabled veterans in WV are being forced to protest in the streets for their medicine. What a slap in the face to our wounded warriors. We have weak Legislators, but that is changing in November 2014.

  4. James

    August 7, 2014 at 2:04 am

    I smoke daily.

  5. Amy

    August 6, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Fuck yeah I self medicate. I’m a 26 year old vet who was on 10 types of medication just to feel normal. Did I mention lack of sex drive is a symptom of all those meds? Now that I’m self medicating, my sex drive is definitely back up there, my anxiety is gone, I SLEEP!!!! That’s probably the best thing. I finally feel fucking normal.

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