When you read a story like this, it makes it even more infuriating that our government fights to keep cannabis out of the hands of our vets with PTSD…
(LA Times) SEATTLE — U.S. Air Force pilot Patrick Burke‘s day started in the cockpit of a B-1 bomber near the Persian Gulf and proceeded across nine time zones as he ferried the aircraft home to South Dakota.
Every four hours during the 19-hour flight, Burke swallowed a tablet of Dexedrine, the prescribed amphetamine known as “go pills.” After landing, he went out for dinner and drinks with a fellow crewman. They were driving back to Ellsworth Air Force Base when Burke began striking his friend in the head.
“Jack Bauer told me this was going to happen — you guys are trying to kidnap me!” he yelled, as if he were a character in the TV show “24.”
After two long-running wars with escalating levels of combat stress, more than 110,000 active-duty Army troops last year were taking prescribed antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs, according to figures recently disclosed to The Times by the U.S. Army surgeon general. Nearly 8% of the active-duty Army is now on sedatives and more than 6% is on antidepressants — an eightfold increase since 2005.
For the Army and the Marines, using the drugs has become a wager that whatever problems occur will be isolated and containable, said James Culp, a former Army paratrooper and now a high-profile military defense lawyer. He recently defended an Army private accused of murder, arguing that his mental illness was exacerbated by the antidepressant Zoloft.
The potential effect on military personnel has special resonance in the wake of several high-profile cases, most notably the one involving Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, accused of murdering 17 civilians in Afghanistan. His attorneys have asked for a list of all medicines the 38-year-old soldier was taking.
Fueling much of the controversy in recent years, though, are reports of a possible link between the popular class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — drugs such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, which boost serotonin levels in the brain — and an elevated risk of suicide among young people. The drugs carry a warning label for those up to 24 — the very age of most young military recruits.
Don’t you just love an anti-depressant that has as a side effect an elevated risk of suicide? ”Doc, I’m depressed, I want to kill myself.” Here, have some Prozac! It should help, unless it makes you want to kill yourself. What could be the effect of over-prescribing these SSRIs to young people between the ages of 18-24 who are already deep into the most stressful situation possible?
(EdmondSun.com) EDMOND — The United States military has an epidemic of suicide, said retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, secretary of Veterans Affairs for the state of Oklahoma.
The Edmond resident told members of the AMBUCS service club Friday that 10 percent of the 3 million U.S. military personnel either attempt suicide or commit suicide.