Many Veterans Have to Break the Law to Use Medical Cannabis

For veterans in states with restrictive medical programs, acquiring the medicinal benefits of cannabis means breaking the law.

There are almost 900,000 military veterans living in New York State, and as many of 20 percent of them may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder; if they served overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan — or if they were in Vietnam — that number may be as high as 30 percent, according to the Veterans Administration.

To call PTSD a debilitating nightmare is not an exaggeration: Sleepless nights, anxiety-filled days, and suicidal thoughts are common. The most common treatment is a pharmaceutical cocktail: anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and opioids.

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Prescription Drugs Still Vanishing at VA Hospitals

If you are in need of prescription opiates, make your way to the nearest Veterans Affairs hospital. Not because VA hospitals prescribe opiates to anybody for any reason, even when it is very bad and dangerous to do so—though they do that, too—but because VA hospitals do a very bad job at stopping employees from stealing armloads of the stuff.

In February, the Associated Press discovered that opiates are going missing from VA hospitals at double the rate private hospital employees are swiping prescription pain pills. In response, the VA announced a “zero tolerance” policy, putting the doctors, nurses and other staffers at its nearly 1,200 medical centers and clinics around the country on notice… who then starting stealing even more.

As the AP reported on Tuesday, another 36 criminal investigations into pill theft were opened between Oct. 1 and May 19 of this year, “an increase from a similar period” the year before.

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VA Pledges More Inspections, Drug Tests to Stem Opioid Theft

BY HOPE YEN

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would boost employee drug testing and inspections amid rising cases of opioid theft and missing prescriptions, acknowledging gaps that had allowed thousands of doctors, nurses and other staff to go unchecked for signs of illicit drug use.

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VA Employees Stealing Prescription Painkillers

Federal drug enforcers are sending in the hounds to sniff out what’s going on over at the Department of Veterans Affairs, after a recent investigation found that VA employees have been stealing prescription painkillers for somewhere around the past decade.

Records obtained by the Associated Press indicate that physicians, nurses or other hospital staff members have been thieving opioid medications from Uncle Sam’s medicine cabinet to either sell on the black market or use for their own recreational pleasure. The report shows that this problem has apparently been a normal part of the day-to-day operations of the VA’s more than 1,000 medical centers and clinics since around 2009.

While it may seem unusual that DEA monitored prescription drugs could just go missing without raising an immediate red flag, Jeffrey Hughes, the acting assistant inspector general for investigation with the VA, said hospital staff sometimes forgets to conduct the proper inspections, which leaves a door open for fiends to get their hands on narcotics. Meanwhile, other employees simply misuse their authority to get their hands on drugs.

Read more at High Times