House Committee Blocks Attempt to Let VA Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana

Republican lawmakers, who crow endlessly about their love and respect for the troops, have blocked a vote on a bill that would have allowed Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a pain treatment in states where it’s legal.

The House Rules Committee stopped a proposed “Veterans Equal Access” amendment from moving to debate on the House floor by keeping the measure out of the House’s proposed VA funding bill for next year.

This, after the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a veterans’ medical cannabis provision earlier this month by a vote of 24 to seven.

Read more at High Times

Senate Committee Approves Medical Marijuana for Veterans

The leading lawmaking brass of the United States government is making a push to ensure that doctors employed with the Department of Veterans Affairs can finally write medical marijuana recommendations for those patients living in states with dispensary programs.

Earlier last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee put its seal of approval on an amendment that would—for the first time ever—make medical marijuana access for veterans a part of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.

The rider, which was introduced by Senators Steve Daines of Montana and Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, would “prohibit the use of funds appropriated or other-wise made available under this Act to interfere with the ability of veterans to participate in medicinal marijuana programs approved by States or deny services to such veterans.”

Read more at High Times

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.

Read more at Cannabis Now

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.

Read more at High Times

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.

Read more at High Times

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