Are there reasons why the U.S. government seems to be sitting by idly, doing nothing, as twenty two veterans a day in the U.S. take their own lives? If so, could those reasons be sinister? Is this part of a greater plan?
For the first time in world history, more veterans who fought in a particular war (the wars in the Middle East) have died from suicide after the war than the number of troops who have died in the war. Let’s look at a couple of facts, only made public this year, which may hint that the current suicide epidemic among veterans may be by design.
Recently, an intense investigation by the Department of Defense was done at Madigan Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord located in Tacoma, Washington. The probe was centered on a high ranking doctor who had allegedly given orders to downgrade soldier’s and veteran’s P.T.S.D. diagnoses who were receiving medical treatment, which would in turn cause a lowering of their VA disability ratings and benefits. As a consequence, forty percent of everyone who’d previously been awarded P.T.S.D. diagnosis under this high ranking official’s command had their diagnosis reversed. Commenting on how costly the P.T.S.D. diagnosis could be to the VA and the Defense Department in the long run, the official in question was quoted as saying, “We have to be good stewards of the Government’s money.”
As a result of the investigation, Pentagon officials also released reports in which they strongly encourage doctors working with veterans who have P.T.S.D. to focus more on therapy and less on medication, one class in particular, the benzodiazepines, for which ‘risks exceed benefits.’
What drugs fall into the benzodiazepine category being used on a regular basis with soldiers and veterans? One of the most common is a sleeping pill called Klonopin, which soldiers coming back from the fronts in Afghanistan, and previously Iraq, have reported is being given out in theater in mass.
What are the dangers of benzodiazepines? One of the biggest is loss of judgment. Regular users have been known to begin participating in never before practiced dangerous behaviors such as unprotected sex and criminal activities. Could this be one reason the U.S. prison system has been crowding up with veterans from the wars in the Middle East? One of the fastest growing gang factions in the U.S. prison systems is that of veterans from the wars in the Middle East.
It has also been noted that benzodiazepines inhibit the brain’s natural “fight for life” mechanism that is found in all living creatures. Therefore, when thoughts of suicide sneak into the minds of those already struggling with many terrible images and bad feelings brought home from war, the self-defense mechanisms that are supposed to be in place to keep them from carrying through with suicidal thoughts are no longer in place. The result? Twenty two veterans a day in the U.S. committing suicide.
It is recommended by doctors that anyone who is on benzodiazepines be closely monitored, yet the VA and military medical facilities have been prescribing the drugs to single soldiers and veterans have no one to observe them. Is this simply an oversight? Or has this been part of a greater plan?
Where is the help? Why is it that it’s taken record numbers of suicides among the men and women who have served our great nation to get the D.O.D. to even look into the matter?
Everyone who has ever served in the military knows that all contracts are given to the lowest bidder, and when you are faced at paying the current number of 3.5 million veterans with service connected disabilities at an average of $1,000 each per month, that amount of money the government pays out becomes HUGE over time, especially when considering that many of these disabled veterans are still in their twenties and stand to live another sixty years or so, should they receive proper medical care. When considering the astronomical number of dollars that all adds up to in time, death certainly seems to be the lowest bidder.
So, is it a simple oversight that nothing is being done in light of this suicide epidemic that is claiming mothers and fathers and daughters and sons? Or is someone at the top, or a group of people at the top simply being good stewards of the government’s money?
Kevin E Lake is an Iraq War Veteran and author of the book “Off Switch,” which was written to raise awareness of the veteran suicide epidemic in the U.S.