This September the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) revealed that opiate prescriptions for veterans had surged 270 percent between 2001 and 2012, fueling addictions and overdose deaths. The CIR has now released the findings of a new report by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which states that doctors at the San Francisco VA hospital “regularly renewed prescriptions for highly addictive narcotic painkillers for veterans they had never seen.”
The report states that in an inspection of 264 opiate prescription renewals, 53 percent had taken place without the doctor seeing the patient or speaking with them on the phone. In addition, auditors found the VA shredded documents tracking opiate abuse and, before a House subcommittee meeting in October, VA physicians confessed hospital administrators pressured them to prescribe opiates to patients.
Despite widespread evidence that cannabis is a safe and effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), VA physicians are forbidden from recommending marijuana, even in states where medical marijuana is legal.