invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

more veteran PTSD deaths March 18, 2009

I don’t know how I missed this story from The Charleston Gazette:

March 1, 2009
Veterans’ families question cause of deaths
Post-traumatic stress syndrome treatment cited

Stan and Shirley White’s son Andrew, a Marine reservist, died at home 2 1/2 years after he returned from Iraq. Janette Layne lost her husband, Eric, in similar circumstances after his return from Iraq.

More than a year later, they still don’t know if the medication their loved ones were taking for post-traumatic stress disorder contributed to their deaths.

Andrew White and Eric Layne were taking Seroquel, Klonopin and Paxil, along with prescription painkillers.

Three other West Virginia servicemen have died in their sleep while undergoing PTSD treatment after returning from Iraq.

Investigators from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs looked into the deaths. Stan White, who actively researches similar deaths and PTSD-related medications, contacted Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who requested the investigation.

The investigators interviewed the White and Layne families and visited Huntington Veterans Affairs, the Charleston Community Based Outpatient Clinic and the Cincinnati VA residential program, where Layne was treated. They reviewed autopsy and toxicology reports for both patients.

In August, they concluded that White and Layne received care that met “community standards” at the VA facilities, and that the men died from a combination of prescribed and non-prescribed medicines.

Although it appears these veterans were taking painkillers on their own, I have a real problem with this story. Why was the VA prescribing three medications (Seroquel, Klonopin and Paxil) to treat PTSD?! Seroquel alone is enough to knock you out and destroy your body. Is this common practice with our veterans returning home from war? I’m too tired to research but I certainly hope not! But, something tells me it is and that is what angers me. I’m reminded of the Chantix/veterans fiasco. I’m tired of reading these stories. A major wake-up call is needed for the FDA, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA facilities and our government in general.

click here for the full story.


VA testing drugs on war veterans June 17, 2008

click here to read this incredibly sad and SHOCKING story. it is well-documented and everyone should read it. major kudos to the washington times and abc.

Mentally distressed veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are being recruited for government tests on pharmaceutical drugs linked to suicide and other violent side effects, an investigation by ABC News and “The Washington Times” has found.

James Elliott and his fiancee tell Brian Ross about his experience on Chantix. The report will air on “Good Morning America” and will also appear in “The Washington Times” on Tuesday.

In one of the human experiments, involving the anti-smoking drug Chantix, Veterans Administration doctors waited more than three months before warning veterans about the possible serious side effects, including suicide and neuropsychiatric behavior.

“Lab rat, guinea pig, disposable hero,” said former US Army sniper James Elliott in describing how he felt he was betrayed by the Veterans Administration. (more…)


our mentally ill troops May 14, 2006

Filed under: mental illness,politics — clementine @ 7:38 pm
Tags: , ,

twenty-two u.s. troops committed suicide in iraq last year. nearly one in five of all noncombat deaths. the highest suicide rate since the war started. service members who committed suicide in 2004 or 2005 were kept on duty despite clear signs of mental distress, sometimes after being prescribed antidepressants with little or no mental health counseling or monitoring.

col. elspeth ritchie, the army’s top mental health expert has this to say:

“the challenge for us … is that the army has a mission to fight. and, as you know, recruiting has been a challenge,” she said. “and so we have to weigh the needs of the army, the needs of the mission, with the soldiers’ personal needs.”

thirty percent of the marines returning from iraq have serious mental problems. more than 200,000 prescriptions for the most common antidepressants were written in the last fourteen months for service members and their families.

how many iraqi veterans will eventually join the ranks of the 400,000 homeless vets on the streets of american cities ?