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A Medal of Honor Recipient Is Speaking Out About Veterans Being 'Over-Prescribed'
There's a serious crisis in America when it comes to opioids. Millions of Americans are addicted to prescription pain relievers, and tens of thousands die from overdoses each year.
But the veteran community leads the way with a sobering statistic: They are two times more likely to overdose than non-veterans.
And beyond the overdose risk, opioids also offer challenges for mental health treatment since, according to VA data, more than 63 percent of veterans receiving prescription medication for chronic pain also have a mental health diagnosis.
That's why Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha is lobbying Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs to look at other options besides the "quick fix" of giving prescriptions to veterans in pain.
"There are so many different options other than just 'fill that prescription,'" Romesha said Thursday in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper.
Many injuries affect the muscles, according to Romesha, which may be better suited to chiropractic care instead of a magic pill. He specifically mentioned the Patriot Project in Canton, Ohio, which has a goal of offering free chiropractic care to wounded veterans, military members and their families, and Gold Star dependents.
The organization boasts eight Medal of Honor recipients as board members or spokesmen, along with other prominent retired military leaders.
"The culture we had when I was in was, 'Here's pills, get back to work,'" Romesha said, noting that there are other options that should be explored such as chiropractic care or acupuncture. "It's been world changing."
There is one option Romesha didn't mention that's been embraced by some veterans: medical marijuana. The VA issued guidance late last year on its medical marijuana policy, which allowed doctors to discuss (but not prescribe) marijuana with veterans, although the agency still refuses to study its efficacy.
You can watch Romesha's full segment with Tapper at CNN.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.
For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.