Donna Campbell is a licensed and practicing physician who represents a suburb of San Antonio in the Texas Senate. A Republican, Campbell has also been involved in Texas’s long, slow, and often onerous and arduous journey towards legalizing cannabis for medical purposes.
Campbell’s resume on the cannabis question is, in a word, diverse. It includes turns as both a reluctant and unreliable advocate — and now, according to recent reports, as a disingenuous adversary who saw fit to lie about veteran suicides in order to block expanded access for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Earlier this spring, Texas lawmakers voted to expand access to the state’s extremely limited medical cannabis oil program. Previously available only to sufferers of intractable epilepsy — for whom access was no small feat even then — medical cannabis with little to no THC is now also available for sufferers of terminal cancer, autism and multiple sclerosis.
PTSD, a malady common among the millions of people who have become military veterans over the past 20 years of combating terrorism, might have been included in the bill.
At least that was the plan, before Campbell made a very bold claim during a debate on the matter — that 70% of the military veterans who have taken their own lives had THC in their systems.
Suicide by current and former members of the military is a very big deal. According to one regularly cited statistic, one pulled from Veterans Administration data, as many as 20 military veterans commit suicide every day. In normal countries, this would an epidemic, a public health crisis. In ours, it’s an excuse to not legalize medical cannabis.
“A study was done, a post-mortem, so a retrospective study done, looking at autopsies and drug levels, what drugs were in the blood of veterans that committed suicide, and 70% had THC,” the senator and doctor said, according to PolitFact.com.
A bold claim — and utterly baseless, as outlets including the Austin American Statesman pointed out. Campbell did not indicate the source for her claim because there is none. She made it up, out of whole cloth. Sen. Donna Campbell, M.D., lied outright in the Texas Senate, on record, in order to limit access to medical cannabis in Texas.
Why did she do this? Politifact tried to contact the senator several times before publishing an item rating her testimony as “not accurate” and making “a ridiculous claim,” its still-euphemistic terminology for an outright lie, a Texas-sized whopper, a dump-truck full of bullsh*t. So we can’t know, but we do know that Campbell appears to have it out for military veterans.
During a 2016 committee hearing on this exact same matter — allowing veterans with PTSD to access cannabis, a drug that many military veterans say is what brings them relief — Campbell stopped a military veteran mid-sentence.
“We already legalized medical cannabis,” said the senator, offering the beatific, “you are an idiot, sir” smile reserved for someone asking directions in a Walmart.
“Yeah… but it doesn’t help veterans,” the veteran responded, according to the Houston Press. “It helps intractable epileptic patients only. So…“
“Well,” Campbell interrupted again, “that is a subject for another day.”
Indeed, and a subject that Campbell, a fabulist, has no compunction about compromising her reputation in order to thwart.
Military veterans as well as secular humanists have descended on Campbell’s Facebook page to call her out because in addition to being a dishonest doctor, Campbell is also apparently a very proud Christian, who frequently posts this or that biblical reference. We seem to recall something in the Ten Commandments about this sort of thing. Then again, maybe Campbell has her own version of the Bible, too.
TELL US, where do you think the senator got her information?