Pubdate: Sat, 19 Jun 2010
Source: Lincoln Journal Star (NE)
Copyright: 2010 Lincoln Journal Star
Author: Wayne Whitmarsh


Post-traumatic stress disorder is afflicting nearly one  in five
veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.  The drugs they are
prescribed have been implicated in  several veterans' overdose deaths.
Alternatives exist,  but veterans are denied access.

As former Gov. Bob Kerrey and Jason Flom of the Drug  Policy Alliance
noted in a nationally published column,  the Veterans Administration
has adopted a policy  prohibiting its physicians from recommending
medicinal  cannabis to VA patients to treat PTSD. "The VA claims  the
ban is primarily a response to threats from the  Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) to prosecute VA  doctors for recommending
medicinal cannabis or for  completing necessary forms to enroll
veterans in a  state cannabis program," their column said.

Cannabis research and patient reports show it to be the  safest and
most effective medicine to treat PTSD. The  ban also means veterans
who live in one of the 14  states that have approved its use must find
a private  physician to become registered and then pay for the
medicine out of pocket.

An article by Dr. Byron Barksdale of North Platte in  the May issue of
Prairie Fire listed 20 distinguishing  characteristics of how
medicinal cannabis users differ  from the stereotypical "pothead"
recreational users.  That the user may have provided heroic service to
his  country and is afforded the best care by a grateful  nation is
shamefully absent from that list.

Wayne Whitmarsh,  Lincoln 
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