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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
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.