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Texas Vets Gather at State Capitol on Veterans Day to Push for Medical Pot

Maureen Meehan

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This Veterans Day, Texas vets will announce the launch of Operation Trapped, a one-year project to collect a single-used prescription bottle from every state veteran who wants safer alternatives to harmful and addictive prescription drugs. 

The project, backed by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, seeks to build support for legislation allowing access to medical marijuana for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic pain, and other service-related conditions.

“As veterans, we have made many sacrifices to protect and serve our country,” said David Bass, a veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom II, told The Daily Chronic

In a related development on the eve of Veteran’s Day 2015, the Senate passed an amendment that includes allowing Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where it is legal. 

Texas, however, is not one of those states.

“The Texas State Legislature needs to act now to create a medical marijuana program that works,” urged Bass.

Worth noting on Veterans Day: There are 19.3 million military veterans in the United States, according to a 2014 report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number of states with one million or more veterans in 2014 are California (1.7 million), Texas (1.5 million) and Florida (1.5 million).

Shocking information not found in these statistics, according to a recent NPR report is that the US Army discharged more than 20,000 soldiers with mental issues like PTSD for “misconduct” between 2009 and 2013. This was only revealed after a soldier recorded a therapy session and took the tape to media.

More than a fifth of the 2.7 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars experience PTSD or depression, according to the VA’s own records

The Los Angeles Times reported on a study that included all 1.3 million veterans who served in active-duty between 2001 and 2007. The study found they had an annual suicide rate of 29.5 per 100,000 veterans – roughly 50 percent higher than the rate among civilians with similar demographic characteristics.

A question for the Veterans Administration: In that a 2014 government study of PTSD sufferers showed a greater than 75 percent reduction in severity of symptoms among patients using marijuana, compared to when they were not… why aren’t all veterans in all 50 states being given this opportunity to use medical pot and possibly save their lives? 

 

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