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Ronny Jackson Was Allegedly Known As ‘Candy Man’ For Doling Out Prescriptions. He’ll Fit Right In At The VA
Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson’s promotion from White House physician to Secretary of Veterans Affairs may be in jeopardy due multiple claims of poor leadership and on-the-job boozing, but there’s one accusation that may actually make him the perfect man for the job: his alleged propensity for doling out prescription drugs “like candy,” according to one lawmaker.
Jackson was reportedly known as “the candy man” in White House circles due to his lax attitude towards prescribing controlled substances to government employees, according to Sen. Jon Tester, a ranking member on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.
During overseas trips, Jackson would “go down the aisle way of the airplane and say, 'All right, who wants to go to sleep?' And hand out the prescription drugs like they were candy,” Tester, Democrat from Montana, told CNN on Tuesday, citing conversations with 23 of Jackson’s past colleagues. “[He’d] put them to sleep and then give them the drugs to wake them back up again … these are called controlled substances for a reason.”
Really, Jon? Because if there’s one thing that the VA’s good at, it’s prescribing controlled substances.
Amid a national opioid crisis brought on by the overprescribing of painkillers, Veterans Health Administration medical facilities have indiscriminately handed out such powerful drugs to patients struggling with chronic pain — 9 million patients annually. According to VA data obtained by CBS News in 2014, narcotics prescriptions skyrocketed 259 percent since the early years of the Global War on Terror, eclipsing the meager 29 percent increase in actual patients during the same period. (Vets receiving private medical treatment are at even more risk of developing an addiction to their medication, but nobody ever said the VA was perfect.)
Okay, so maybe VA doctors overdid it a little. It turns out that U.S. veterans are twice as likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than civilians, according to Reuters. A July 2017 VA OIG report concluded that some 63 percent of vets that receive opioids for chronic pain from the VA also have a mental health diagnosis like PTSD or depression that complicates pain management treatment and carries a higher risk of suicide. Those veterans were three times more likely to receive opioids for pain diagnoses at VA hospitals than other vets.
But to be fair, the VA was just acting on the advice of OxyContin manufactures like Purdue Pharma that, according to documents made public by Newsweek in October 2017, influenced the VA and DoD guidelines to minimize the addictive properties of opioids and explicitly targeted combat veterans. And honestly who better to trust about the safety of a drug than the very people making billions of dollars by pushing it to the public. Why would they ever lie?
Naturally, the VA responded to the tide of addictions it had inadvertently caused by cutting people off cold turkey: VA data released in January 2018 revealed that 99 percent of facilities between 2012 and 2017 saw significant decreases in their opiate prescription rates.
Whoops! Turns out that taking drugs away from addicted veterans only wound up sending them into the hands of heroin dealers and other illicit sources of opioids. VA doctors apparently spent too much time “focusing on taking patients off opioids without offering appropriate addiction counseling or addressing how they’re needlessly hurting all the chronic pain patients they’re taking off these meds,” according to the maddening 2017 Newsweek investigation.
This is why Jackson’s laissez-faire attitude to meds might be just what the doctor ordered: If we’re going to get former service members hooked on powerful drugs, shouldn’t a major corporation headquartered in the good ol’ USA, paying taxes and employing our hard-working citizens, reap the profits? Perhaps this is why the White House has doubled down on Jackson’s nomination despite the allegations against him; after all, handing out prescriptions for powerful and addictive drugs willy-nilly isn’t a scandal — it’s an American pastime
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.