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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  September 19, 2014 12:30pm-1:01pm EDT

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refrigeration community. >> translator: every year, i'm doing less and less business. it has been going down every year for the past 10 to 15 years. >> reporter: back at her home, her frig also benefits her neighbors who use it to store food and milk. most other homes here now also have a frig as people begin to see the benefit of owning what many now consider a necessity. hi, i aim lisa fletcher and hi, i aim lisa fletcher and you are in "the stream." you are in "the stream." suicides and accidental suicides and accidental precipitation overdoses are precipitation overdoses are alarmingly high in the u.s. alarmingly high in the u.s. military. military. is indies cell natural is indies cell natural dispensing of painkillers and dispensing of painkillers and psychiatric drugs to blame? psychiatric drugs to blame? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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could the military have a could the military have a drug problem? drug problem? the he is department of defense the he is department of defense spends billions of drugs to spends billions of drugs to treat mental illness and reduce treat mental illness and reduce pain, in fact a recent report by pain, in fact a recent report by the department of veterans the department of veterans affairs found that v.a. doctors affairs found that v.a. doctors prescribe specifically more prescribe specifically more opiates to opiates to stress patients than stress patients than other veterans. other veterans. congress held a hearing. congress held a hearing. family members, veterans and family members, veterans and doctors testified about the doctors testified about the culture of prescribing drugs at culture of prescribing drugs at the v.a. the v.a. >> unfortunately, we have given >> unfortunately, we have given the veterans the impression that the veterans the impression that for whatever problem they have, for whatever problem they have, we have a pill to help it. we have a pill to help it. one or two bills to depression, one or two bills to depression, one for anxiety. one for anxiety. one or two for sleep, one for one or two for sleep, one for ptsd. ptsd. add a few more pills for add a few more pills for hypertension, diabetes, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, asthma, then add one or two or three then add one or two or three precipitations for precipitations for narcotics, narcotics, what happens if a vet adds some what happens if a vet adds some
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over the counter medications or over the counter medications or if he drinks alcohol? if he drinks alcohol? >> suicide and accidental >> suicide and accidental overdose among veterans and overdose among veterans and active service members is twice active service members is twice as high as the national average. as high as the national average. leading some to question whether leading some to question whether the drugs are treating mental the drugs are treating mental illness and pain or making the illness and pain or making the problem worse. problem worse. so how effective are these so how effective are these precipitation drugs at treating precipitation drugs at treating what ale also our veterans? what ale also our veterans? >> producer is here >> producer is here monitoring monitoring our social media. our social media. we know about the relationship we know about the relationship between precipitation drugs and between precipitation drugs and suicide or accidental overdose. suicide or accidental overdose. >> speak big relationships, we >> speak big relationships, we had a lot of online comments had a lot of online comments from family members of veterans. from family members of veterans. >> we did. >> we did. >> how this is affecting and >> how this is affecting and destroying their lives, as an destroying their lives, as an active duty spouse, i can tell active duty spouse, i can tell you it's not only the veterans you it's not only the veterans that struggle, the family that struggle, the family struggles every single day. struggles every single day. here is jen, also here is jen, also a spouse my a spouse my husband has ptsd. husband has ptsd. takes eight pills daily. takes eight pills daily. he's a zombie, can't leave the he's a zombie, can't leave the house, this is a problem. house, this is a problem. jeremy who is a vet says, look, jeremy who is a vet says, look, some vets lost regular health
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some vets lost regular health care and sent to v.a. like me. care and sent to v.a. like me. he had excellent health care, he had excellent health care, good good points, jeremy. points, jeremy. this website did great research. this website did great research. it found precipitations of four it found precipitations of four opiates to veterans have more opiates to veterans have more than tripled than tripled since 9/11. since 9/11. check out the red dots that's check out the red dots that's where it's most common, oregon, where it's most common, oregon, california, the south, midwest. california, the south, midwest. >> all over the east that report >> all over the east that report brought this to the mainstream brought this to the mainstream conversation. conversation. >> the stats are staring. >> the stats are staring. >> they are. >> they are. joining us is dr. stephen a joining us is dr. stephen a psychiatrist and retired army psychiatrist and retired army brigadier general, he works with brigadier general, he works with soldiers and veterans suffering soldiers and veterans suffering from ptsd and brain injuries. from ptsd and brain injuries. on skype, ryan is honoringer for on skype, ryan is honoringer for iraq veterans against the war. iraq veterans against the war. he is currently undergoing he is currently undergoing treatment for ptsd. treatment for ptsd. and other conditions. and other conditions. we reached out to the military we reached out to the military and the department of veterans and the department of veterans affairs to appear on the program affairs to appear on the program tonight, and they declined. tonight, and they declined. however, a v.a. spokesperson however, a v.a. spokesperson gave us this at the same time, gave us this at the same time, which reads in part, the v.a. which reads in part, the v.a. takes seriously the takes seriously the responsibility to balance the responsibility to balance the need of veterans with pain and need of veterans with pain and the potential dangers of the potential dangers of precipitation drugs, including
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precipitation drugs, including open open oids. oids. the v.a.'s statement will be the v.a.'s statement will be available in full on our available in full on our website website website. website. >> so doctor, vets and active >> so doctor, vets and active members of the military are members of the military are dieing at a an alarming dieing at a an alarming rate. rate. expert point to the connection expert point to the connection between these prescribed drugs between these prescribed drugs and suicides and accident and suicides and accident overdoses. overdoses. what's going on here? what's going on here? >> i think you have a situation >> i think you have a situation where a number of these, mostly where a number of these, mostly young men and well, find young men and well, find themselves at the end of a rope. themselves at the end of a rope. they have tried the treatments. they have tried the treatments. and even the best studies show and even the best studies show that these medications work only that these medications work only about half of the patients to about half of the patients to which they are prescribed. which they are prescribed. so you have a whole other half so you have a whole other half that are still suffering and go that are still suffering and go through sort of a list of drugs, through sort of a list of drugs, almost in a trial and error way almost in a trial and error way and they are not getting better. and they are not getting better. and then what happens is that and then what happens is that doctors, as part of practice, doctors, as part of practice, will start piling will start piling on one on one precipitation and if the patient precipitation and if the patient is having a side effect from a is having a side effect from a medication, they give another
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medication, they give another medication for that side effect. medication for that side effect. until finally they -- a veteran until finally they -- a veteran can get in to a state like they can get in to a state like they feel just sort of totally zombie feel just sort of totally zombie identified. identified. and they are not and they are not able to work able to work they are not able to have they are not able to have relationships that they want and relationships that they want and they are not getting better and they are not getting better and they are at a they are at a deadened deadened . . and when we they get to the dead and when we they get to the dead end they feel all they can do is end they feel all they can do is kill themselves. kill themselves. it's really sad. it's really sad. >> ryan you got to a point where >> ryan you got to a point where you almost overdosed on your you almost overdosed on your precipitations. precipitations. tell us what happened. tell us what happened. how did you get there? how did you get there? >> i well, mine, over the past >> i well, mine, over the past 12 months being i 12 months being i , i think i have had my , i think i have had my meds changed over 10 times. meds changed over 10 times. and, you know, you really only and, you know, you really only get to see a psychiatrist about get to see a psychiatrist about every 30 days, you know, when every 30 days, you know, when you make an appointment, you you make an appointment, you have to book it out 30 days in have to book it out 30 days in advance. advance. so the communication is just not so the communication is just not there. there. you know, i was told to take a you know, i was told to take a certain sequence, and i did certain sequence, and i did
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so, so, and, yeah, it wasn't very and, yeah, it wasn't very pretty. pretty. >> he's talking about one of the >> he's talking about one of the problems that we are seeing in problems that we are seeing in psychiatry, not just in the psychiatry, not just in the military, in the v.a., but also military, in the v.a., but also in the private in the private sector, where the sector, where the psychiatrists feel that what psychiatrists feel that what they are asked to do and what, they are asked to do and what, in fact, they are compensated in fact, they are compensated for by the insurance company is for by the insurance company is prescribing medications and not prescribing medications and not really giving the whole really giving the whole treatment package. treatment package. well, these precipitations are well, these precipitations are trial and error. trial and error. you know, it's -- you might have you know, it's -- you might have some experience to know what ma some experience to know what ma patients what works bet, but patients what works bet, but there are no objective tests out there are no objective tests out there to decide what medication there to decide what medication is going to work best with a is going to work best with a patient and they really, i find patient and they really, i find in my own clinical practice, i in my own clinical practice, i need to see people pretty need to see people pretty frequently. frequently. and i need to be able to spend a and i need to be able to spend a lot of time with them to lot of time with them to understand what going on. understand what going on. well, that's not paid for. well, that's not paid for. that's not funded. that's not funded. that's not the way things work that's not the way things work right right now
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now . . either in the v. on. either in the v. on. a or outside a or outside practice. practice. >> we have this >> we have this statement. statement. do they get kickbacks, i was do they get kickbacks, i was told by a dock tar i am trying told by a dock tar i am trying to get better not get hi. to get better not get hi. anhigh. anhigh. chris says i broke my tibia and chris says i broke my tibia and fibula, and the v.a. didn't give fibula, and the v.a. didn't give me anything the pain was me anything the pain was unbearable so i drank a lot. unbearable so i drank a lot. lynette lynette says says : : ryan, you didn't ryan, you didn't get love and listeners. get love and listeners. talk about the military culture talk about the military culture where you can be sent back in to where you can be sent back in to active duty even though you are active duty even though you are emotionally and mentally unfit. emotionally and mentally unfit. >> yeah, sure. >> yeah, sure. you know, it's referred to as you know, it's referred to as commander's discretion, where commander's discretion, where even commanders can override the even commanders can override the opinion of a doctor. opinion of a doctor. so if a doctor tells the command so if a doctor tells the command
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structure that that sole jef sos structure that that sole jef sos not to do push ups because he not to do push ups because he has a broken arm, that's has a broken arm, that's typically adhered to. typically adhered to. but in the air areas where it's but in the air areas where it's affected me directly and other affected me directly and other service members is where they service members is where they have doctor's recommendation for have doctor's recommendation for his nondeployable conditions, his nondeployable conditions, ptsd. ptsd. tbi. tbi. mst and commanders continue to mst and commanders continue to deploy them. deploy them. my case i was in the field, so i my case i was in the field, so i was out there training, a week was out there training, a week after being put on a pretty after being put on a pretty intense medication. intense medication. you know, i had tremors and you know, i had tremors and cramps and i was told to keep cramps and i was told to keep training. training. >> wait a minute, so you were >> wait a minute, so you were active duty, you were put on all active duty, you were put on all these medicine an medicines andt these medicine an medicines andt sent someplace to recover and be sent someplace to recover and be monitors, you just went back out monitors, you just went back out in the field? in the field? >> yeah. >> yeah. it's it's pretty common practice. pretty common practice. you go you go to approach the medical to approach the medical personnel that's out in the personnel that's out in the field at the time, and the field at the time, and the military culture suggests like military culture suggests like unless you are about to die, unless you are about to die, suck it up. suck it up. >> were you too medicate today >> were you too medicate today function probably, ryan? function probably, ryan? >> i didn't participate in any >> i didn't participate in any
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of the training sensually. of the training sensually. i was sitting on a cot under a i was sitting on a cot under a shade. shade. they just wanted me to be out they just wanted me to be out there, you know, with the there, you know, with the tremors, stomach cramps and, you tremors, stomach cramps and, you know, it got scary. know, it got scary. i ended up taking myself off, i ended up taking myself off, which is also a terrible which is also a terrible idea. idea. but, you know, better than but, you know, better than the a.m. alternative. the a.m. alternative. >> doctor, this is another >> doctor, this is another portion of the statement that we portion of the statement that we got from the v.a. tonight. got from the v.a. tonight. it says the veterans health it says the veterans health administration has worked administration has worked aggressively to promote and aggressively to promote and improve the safe and effective improve the safe and effective use of use of ope open oeud therapy. ope open oeud therapy. i am no doctor but that sounds i am no doctor but that sounds like literal like literal pain. pain. seems like these medications are seems like these medications are being used today treat mental being used today treat mental disorders is that the correct disorders is that the correct usage? usage? >> no, not necessarily. >> no, not necessarily. no, it's not. no, it's not. but, in fact, that's what but, in fact, that's what happened. happened. you have the opiates, you know, you have the opiates, you know, morphine-like drugs that were morphine-like drugs that were used for these men who used for these men who particularly particularly were having a were having a combination of problems. combination of problems. that's where the real challenge that's where the real challenge is. is. i i
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mean, we think of everything mean, we think of everything in little compartments. in little compartments. so we have emotional pain and we so we have emotional pain and we have stress and we have have stress and we have got got musculoskeletal aches and pains musculoskeletal aches and pains and broken bones and medicine is and broken bones and medicine is so fragmented that that is so fragmented that that is unfortunately what happens, unfortunately what happens, patients go from specialist to patients go from specialist to specialist or doctor to doctor. specialist or doctor to doctor. but all these things work a but all these things work a coup coup accumulatively they can all pile accumulatively they can all pile on and cause a sense of pain and on and cause a sense of pain and disfor i can'disfor i can't, orr disfor i can'disfor i can't, orr the war the war fighter fighter . . the the other other complications complications or iad or iad blasts, 40% of the army and blasts, 40% of the army and marines who deployed, that's marines who deployed, that's like 2.6 million people, fours% like 2.6 million people, fours% were expose today ied blasts, were expose today ied blasts, those blasts, and particularly those blasts, and particularly when they are close, will cause when they are close, will cause a lot of physical pain. a lot of physical pain. they cause headaches, and they
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they cause headaches, and they cause sleep problems and in fact cause sleep problems and in fact being the eardrums will burst. being the eardrums will burst. and they'll have all sorts of and they'll have all sorts of problems ringing in the ears, problems ringing in the ears, and as well as sorts of physical and as well as sorts of physical pain. pain. so it gets very mushy in terms so it gets very mushy in terms of how you treat them, how you of how you treat them, how you give them time. give them time. and how much of these and how much of these medications you prescribe. medications you prescribe. and how long you use and how long you use them. them. simplest thing it to say the simplest thing it to say the soldier comes in and says i got soldier comes in and says i got pain, i got this, i am not pain, i got this, i am not feeling feeling right, and say all right, and say all right, we'll give you a right, we'll give you a narcotic. narcotic. >> and i imagine that things are >> and i imagine that things are compartmentalized like you said compartmentalized like you said the doctors aren't communicating the doctors aren't communicating with each other to compare notes with each other to compare notes and integrate the treatment and integrate the treatment plan. plan. >> no. >> no. >> well, it's not just those who >> well, it's not just those who have served that suffer. have served that suffer. when a veteran dies loved ones when a veteran dies loved ones are left behind and often with are left behind and often with more questions than answers and more questions than answers and that leaves little comfort or that leaves little comfort or clear four the families. clear four the families. one courageous mom joins us one courageous mom joins us after the break. after the break.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ my life resolved around when my life resolved around when is my next pill, when is my next is my next pill, when is my next dosage increase, and when can i dosage increase, and when can i get my next get my next refill. refill. at my worst points i was taking at my worst points i was taking number pills daily to number pills daily to treat treat 4:00 flai 4:00 flai fourterminally ill cancer patie. fourterminally ill cancer patie. >> he was different several >> he was different several precipitation drugs, but when a precipitation drugs, but when a veteran or active duty member veteran or active duty member dies from accidental overdose or dies from accidental overdose or suicide it's the families that suicide it's the families that suffer. suffer. joining us now is lou an, her joining us now is lou an, her son died of be accidental son died of be accidental precipitation overdose almost precipitation overdose almost two years ago think thank you two years ago think thank you for joining us. for joining us. before we get in to what before we get in to what happened to danny, tell us what happened to danny, tell us what kind of guy he was. kind of guy he was. >> hi. >> hi. danny was danny was awesome. awesome. he was brave. he was brave. he was caring, he was he was caring, he was kind, kind, loyal. loyal.
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he received every medal he could he received every medal he could in the in the army army . . >> medal of valor. >> medal of valor. he gave his purple heart back. he gave his purple heart back. he sounds like an amazing he sounds like an amazing guy. guy. >> he said it was offered and he >> he said it was offered and he thought there were others more thought there were others more deserving. deserving. >> incredible. >> incredible. danny like so many of these danny like so many of these returning vets, was haunted by returning vets, was haunted by what economy fronted in iraq. what economy fronted in iraq. and he struggled after he came and he struggled after he came home. home. i know he moved back in with you i know he moved back in with you and your husband, you took him and your husband, you took him to the montrose va hospital. to the montrose va hospital. what did the doctors there do? what did the doctors there do? >> well, he was actually taken >> well, he was actually taken there via ambulance from the there via ambulance from the culinary ins doubt of america in culinary ins doubt of america in hyde park. hyde park. but basically the but basically the doctors they doctors they kept him inpatient for a few kept him inpatient for a few days. days. they diagnosed him with t.b.i. they diagnosed him with t.b.i. and ptsd and gave him several and ptsd and gave him several medications. medications. and then we went to pick him up and then we went to pick him up and brought him back home and and brought him back home and took him out of school for a took him out of school for a while to recover. while to recover.
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>> how did those pills make him >> how did those pills make him act? act? >> well, he kind of was walking >> well, he kind of was walking around like very stoned, zombie around like very stoned, zombie like. like. he would fall asleep while he would fall asleep while eating. eating. he would smoke a cigarette and he would smoke a cigarette and you would have to catch him and you would have to catch him and just pray to god wasn't going to just pray to god wasn't going to burn the house down. burn the house down. he would forget he took them, he would forget he took them, when he took them, so then he when he took them, so then he would go back and take would go back and take more. more. so we finally took all of the so we finally took all of the pills away. pills away. and went and bought a pillbox and went and bought a pillbox and put his pills in there and and put his pills in there and hit the rest of them. hit the rest of them. so if he went to the pillbox and so if he went to the pillbox and they were gone, he knew he took they were gone, he knew he took them. them. that's the only way we tried to that's the only way we tried to keep it under control for him. keep it under control for him. >> doctor, >> doctor, is what she is is what she is describing something that is an describing something that is an anomaly or have you heard this anomaly or have you heard this story before? story before? >> sadly i have heard this story >> sadly i have heard this story lots of times. lots of times. you know, i feel so sad for her you know, i feel so sad for her and her son. and her son. but it's but it's tragic. tragic.
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>> well, our community find this >> well, our community find this epidemic really tragic. epidemic really tragic. i mean, brent says the country i mean, brent says the country as a a whole has a drug problem. as a a whole has a drug problem. too much money to be made too much money to be made medicating rather than a medicating rather than a addressing the actual problem. addressing the actual problem. too many precipitation drugs too many precipitation drugs have side effects worse than have side effects worse than symptoms they are designed to symptoms they are designed to treat. treat. andrew says the treatment sounds andrew says the treatment sounds similar to how quote troubled similar to how quote troubled children are medicated instead children are medicated instead of being dealt with more of being dealt with more substantially. substantially. tony says veterans feel tony says veterans feel betrayed, they serve by giving betrayed, they serve by giving one % why do we turn our back on one % why do we turn our back on the same people who protect our the same people who protect our freedom. freedom. bet i says how do we get to the bet i says how do we get to the root cause? root cause? i know traumatized soldiers are i know traumatized soldiers are being redeployed. being redeployed. what can civilians what can civilians do. do. we were talking about these we were talking about these numbers, 22 veterans kill numbers, 22 veterans kill themselves a day. themselves a day. that's twice the number of that's twice the number of civilians. civilians. how do with get to that points how do with get to that points in this country i? in this country i? >> how did we get do that point? >> how did we get do that point? >> yes. >> yes. >> we brought these people back, >> we brought these people back, they went back to their they went back to their communities, many of them are communities, many of them are rural communities and they are rural communities and they are not a lot of resources there. not a lot of resources there.
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and we didn't prepare them to and we didn't prepare them to transition and give them a transition and give them a support. support. an entire wraparound them what an entire wraparound them what they needed in order to build a they needed in order to build a new life for them. new life for them. to use what they had learned in to use what they had learned in the military, because there are the military, because there are some -- lots of good good thingt some -- lots of good good thingt come from that military come from that military experience. experience. but to understand that it is but to understand that it is going to take, two, three years. going to take, two, three years. and they are going to learn some and they are going to learn some new habits. new habits. and they are going to have to and they are going to have to adjust to some of the injuries adjust to some of the injuries that they have had. that they have had. expect that they are going to expect that they are going to get better. get better. but that there are people there but that there are people there that this can turn to. that this can turn to. and that hasn't happened. and that hasn't happened. we did not plan for the we did not plan for the aftershock of the war. aftershock of the war. >> so louanne, you and your >> so louanne, you and your husband were trying to help husband were trying to help absorb some of the aftershock absorb some of the aftershock for your son, you were trying to for your son, you were trying to shepherd him through this shepherd him through this process helping him manage his process helping him manage his medicine. medicine. walk walk us through christmas 2011. us through christmas 2011. >> well, he came home from >> well, he came home from school, we had a wonderful school, we had a wonderful christmas christmas . .
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the morning of the 29th of the morning of the 29th of december december of 2011, i went of 2011, i went upstairs and knocked on his upstairs and knocked on his door, and i pushed the door open door, and i pushed the door open a little and i saw his feet and a little and i saw his feet and i pushed it open a little i pushed it open a little more, more, and he was laying there in his and he was laying there in his bed, and he was -- his hands bed, and he was -- his hands were on the were on the computer. computer. and i went over and i kept and i went over and i kept saying, danny, danny, and i saying, danny, danny, and i shook shook him. him. but he didn't -- his head was but he didn't -- his head was flipped back on the pillow. flipped back on the pillow. and his mouth was and his mouth was open. open. and he didn't feel like you were and he didn't feel like you were pushing a regular, live person. pushing a regular, live person. and at that point i panicked and and at that point i panicked and screamed and my daughter ran and screamed and my daughter ran and got my husband and her husband, got my husband and her husband, who is in the army, and my who is in the army, and my daughter and son-in-law started daughter and son-in-law started cpr until the ambulance could cpr until the ambulance could get there. get there. but there were all his pill but there were all his pill bottles were open and
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bottles were open and empty empty . . and unfortunately, he was and unfortunately, he was declared dead at the declared dead at the hospital. hospital. and there is really not a and there is really not a lot lot more. more. it was -- it was more than it was -- it was more than tragic. tragic. >> it's beyond tragic. >> it's beyond tragic. there are no words i am sure. there are no words i am sure. ryan, ryan, look, an autopsy was done look, an autopsy was done on danny, determined that this on danny, determined that this was an accidental overdose. was an accidental overdose. >> yeah. >> yeah. you know, i found you know, i found it odd and i it odd and i didn't really -- thank god i was didn't really -- thank god i was seeing a psychiatrist, a seeing a psychiatrist, a forensic psychiatrist who is forensic psychiatrist who is also a v.a. psychiatrist and i also a v.a. psychiatrist and i had asked him how do they know? had asked him how do they know? and he goes, you know, lou and he goes, you know, lou albuquerque an, he said people albuquerque an, he said people would ptsd and dramatic would ptsd and dramatic brain brain injury are real injury are real prone to be forgetful. prone to be forgetful. probably what happened is he probably what happened is he took his took his meds, fell asleep,
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meds, fell asleep, woke woke up he took more, fell asleep. up he took more, fell asleep. woke up, took more. woke up, took more. forgot he took them. forgot he took them. woke up, and he goes, you know woke up, and he goes, you know what, a lot of times they fall what, a lot of times they fall asleep after the first or second asleep after the first or second set, but unfortunately, he set, but unfortunately, he kept -- he woke up and took more kept -- he woke up and took more and woke up and took more. and woke up and took more. and then he did not wake and then he did not wake up. up. but but i guess if you are -- if the i guess if you are -- if the problem you have causes problem you have causes forgetfulness and these forgetfulness and these problems, your arming these men problems, your arming these men with bottles of pills and just with bottles of pills and just don't assume that everybody don't assume that everybody knows how to take knows how to take them. them. because if you forget -- the because if you forget -- the only reason we knew to take his only reason we knew to take his meds away and put them in pill meds away and put them in pill bottles is that i had a stroke bottles is that i had a stroke and that is how my husband set and that is how my husband set it up for me and took me through it up for me and took me through it. it. so i didn't have that so i didn't have that problem. problem. >> ryan, i want you to jump in >> ryan, i want you to jump in here.
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here. >> yeah. >> yeah. i am in the same position as far i am in the same position as far as keeping track and, you know, as keeping track and, you know, that was something that i had to that was something that i had to take my own initiative on. take my own initiative on. you you know, after just the past know, after just the past few weeks when i had a blackout, few weeks when i had a blackout, i need to start writing down i need to start writing down when i take my meds. when i take my meds. and you know, we were talking and you know, we were talking about why is this happening? about why is this happening? you know, why are the numbers so you know, why are the numbers so crazy crazy now? now? and if you look at -- there is and if you look at -- there is something about the occupations something about the occupations in the last decade are so unlike in the last decade are so unlike any other war that we been in, any other war that we been in, you no what i mean? you no what i mean? we are second the same guys back we are second the same guys back over and over. over and over. when i physician got in i was when i physician got in i was talking to guys who spent more talking to guys who spent more time in iraq and afghanistan time in iraq and afghanistan than they had in the united than they had in the united states, you know what i mean. states, you know what i mean. we have never done that before. we have never done that before. you know, we are sending them -- you know, we are sending them -- getting traumatized and going getting traumatized and going back and going back and going back and going back and going back. back. and our solution is to try to and our solution is to try to pacify the signs and symptoms pacify the signs and symptoms and nothinsymptomsand nobody isl and nothinsymptomsand nobody isl like the causes and conditions like the causes and conditions are really being addressed. are really being addressed. i don't think that we are i don't think that we are looking deep enough in to why is looking deep enough in to why is
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this actually happening. this actually happening. you know, it just is a you know, it just is a frustrating issue. frustrating issue. >> i want to talk more about >> i want to talk more about that can the doctor when we come that can the doctor when we come back from the break. back from the break. over prescribing drugs to our over prescribing drugs to our nation's military. nation's military. obviously seems like a behemoth obviously seems like a behemoth of a problem. of a problem. but if the v.a. and d.o.d. take but if the v.a. and d.o.d. take the right cues there are those the right cues there are those that think there's a better way that think there's a better way forward for our suffering vets. forward for our suffering vets. we'll talk about it right after we'll talk about it right after the break. the break. >> a firsthand look at the >> a firsthand look at the ongoing battle against the isil ongoing battle against the isil threat. >> bombs are cracking off in the threat. >> bombs are cracking off in the distance... distance... >> this is a booby trap >> this is a booby trap in the islamic state in the islamic state >> ...a sniper around the corner >> ...a sniper around the corner here... >> from the front lines, here... >> from the front lines, josh rushing reports, josh rushing reports, on al jazeera america on al jazeera america@@ development...
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development... >> we have an exclusive story >> we have an exclusive story tonight, and we go live... tonight, and we go live... ♪ ♪ welcome back. welcome back. we are talking about the we are talking about the military and the over military and the over precipitation of drugs to treat precipitation of drugs to treat mental illness and pain. mental illness and pain. before the break we asked our before the break we asked our community what they thought community what they thought about the solutions. about the solutions. >> look, the department of >> look, the department of veteran affairs does not do veteran affairs does not do enough to help veterans, period. enough to help veterans, period. there is ample room for there is ample room for improvement across the improvement across the board. board. a suggestion, probably all going a suggestion, probably all going to come down to more funding. to come down to more funding. but congress is never going to but congress is never going to part with it. part with it. we are not doing enough. we are not doing enough. and she has a suggestion, maybe and she has a suggestion, maybe allow these soldiers to have allow these soldiers to have access to marijuana, make it access to marijuana, make it
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nationwide you might see fewer nationwide you might see fewer overdoses at least. overdoses at least. a great video comment from a a great video comment from a vet, jeremy, give him a listen. vet, jeremy, give him a listen. >> veterans who get painkillers >> veterans who get painkillers from the veterans from the veterans administration, we are very administration, we are very controlled. controlled. every month we have to get new every month we have to get new precipitations written. precipitations written. it's not month to month. it's not month to month. we get frequent urinalysis exams we get frequent urinalysis exams to make some their we are not to make some their we are not abusing the drugs or being abusing the drugs or being criminal with them. criminal with them. and the system needs more and the system needs more medical care. medical care. not more precipitations. not more precipitations. >> doctor, >> doctor, the military and the the military and the v.a. recognize that there is a v.a. recognize that there is a problem, but there is a huge problem, but there is a huge difference between recognition difference between recognition and action. and action. do you think that this is more do you think that this is more i've leadership i've leadership issue as -- or issue as -- or perhaps a funding issue. perhaps a funding issue. >> i think it's a leadership >> i think it's a leadership issue. issue. i think it's the way you i think it's the way you organize. organize. i think there is also a i think there is also a transforming the health care transforming the health care system, really at the
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system, really at the frontlines. frontlines. and you've got people who are and you've got people who are very dedicated, conscientious, very dedicated, conscientious, you have people who have been in you have people who have been in the system for a long time as the system for a long time as care providers and support care providers and support people. people. and what we are looking at is to and what we are looking at is to shift what they do to think more shift what they do to think more about integrated care, to think about integrated care, to think more about using these other mo more about using these other mo dal at thises, very therapies dal at thises, very therapies and other alternative therapies. and other alternative therapies. but to but to do do that it takes that it takes leadership that can inspire them leadership that can inspire them and check on them. and check on them. it's transformation leadership. it's transformation leadership. and that's very and that's very difficult. difficult. the v.a. is a very big the v.a. is a very big organization. organization. it's it's operated in some places operated in some places independently. independently. and they will in each of these and they will in each of these places they say, we are going to places they say, we are going to do what we have do what we have been doing and been doing and what and what we do is right. what and what we do is right. it's the challenge, i don't it's the challenge, i don't think the issue is money. think the issue is money. >> well, our community is really >> well, our community is really respond to go louanne's story.
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respond to go louanne's story. my hard goes out to louanne, my hard goes out to louanne, she's right, we arm so many in she's right, we arm so many in the military with tools for the military with tools for destruction. destruction. p.t.s.d. and soldiers suicides p.t.s.d. and soldiers suicides are a result of what they are a result of what they experienced. experienced. and then there is beddy, and then there is beddy, betty, i am a betty, i am a concerned antiwar activist. concerned antiwar activist. how can people get involved. how can people get involved. try arms how can civilians help try arms how can civilians help here? here? >> i mean, i have been involved >> i mean, i have been involved with iraq veterans against the with iraq veterans against the war and i have been really war and i have been really impressed with the operation impressed with the operation recovery, they are trying to recovery, they are trying to eliminate that commanders eliminate that commanders ability to like override a ability to like override a medical opinion. medical opinion. if somebody is already suffering if somebody is already suffering from previous delight little, from previous delight little, let's stop it let's stop it there there . . we can talk about treatment but we can talk about treatment but the best solution is prevent it the best solution is prevent it from happening in the first from happening in the first place. place. >> louanne, i am sure tonight >> louanne, i am sure tonight was difficult for you to talk was difficult for you to talk about and relive. about and relive. why did you come on the why did you come on the program program
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. . >> i basically came on the >> i basically came on the program because i want to find program because i want to find the way to get it out there that the way to get it out there that when these men come when these men come back, and back, and they are tested two they are tested two or three or three days later for ptsd, i believe days later for ptsd, i believe they need a they need a longer transition longer transition and more testing. and more testing. i believe that the families need i believe that the families need to know what to look for with to know what to look for with their loved ones to try. their loved ones to try. because the people that may have because the people that may have these these issues, may not understand issues, may not understand what they have. what they have. and we need -- and the parents and we need -- and the parents and the families and the families need to know need to know who to call. who to call. what to watch for. what to watch for. how to help. how to help. and be -- with the families and be -- with the families being involved in the community being involved in the community and the v.a., and volunteers, and the v.a., and volunteers, and their and their peers, i believe that peers, i believe that would be a big step to make would be a big step to make these men understand they are these men understand they are not not alone. alone. they are not goings craze.
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they are not goings craze. >> i that is the biggest thing >> i that is the biggest thing there, not alone. there, not alone. that is all the time that we that is all the time that we have. have. thanks to all of our guests for thanks to all of our guests for an amazing discussion tonight. an amazing discussion tonight. between now and the next show, between now and the next show, we'll see on you line. we'll see on you line. [ explosion ] ceasefire talks collapse in yemen. shia rebels intensify their offensive in the capitol sana'a. ♪ hello there, i'm laura kyle. this is al jazeera live from doha. also ahead on the program. >> for scotland the campaign continues, and the

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