Effect Measure

They have a pill for that

Of the many tag lines I’ve seen as part of people’s electronic signatures, the most apt for this post is this one:

“I used to care about stuff. Now I have a pill for that.”

Sergeant Christopher LeJeune was anxious and depressed after long duty on Baghdad’s dangerous streets. He often had to collect enemy dead from houses he had attacked. Sometimes there were tiny shoes and toys scattered around. The whole package was starting to get to him. So the Army took care of his problem:

While the headline-grabbing weapons in this war have been high-tech wonders, like unmanned drones that drop Hellfire missiles on the enemy below, troops like LeJeune are going into battle with a different kind of weapon, one so stealthy that few Americans even know of its deployment. For the first time in history, a sizable and growing number of U.S. combat troops are taking daily doses of antidepressants to calm nerves strained by repeated and lengthy tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The medicines are intended not only to help troops keep their cool but also to enable the already strapped Army to preserve its most precious resource: soldiers on the front lines. Data contained in the Army’s fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report indicate that, according to an anonymous survey of U.S. troops taken last fall, about 12% of combat troops in Iraq and 17% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope. Escalating violence in Afghanistan and the more isolated mission have driven troops to rely more on medication there than in Iraq, military officials say. (Mark Thompson, Time Magazine)

Use of SSRI antidepressants has been linked to suicidal behavior. The FDA requires a black box warning to that effect on this medication. Suicide rates among Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers and veterans are at record levels and there is increasing talk outside the military that the profligate use of antidepressants is a factor. But the military is deaf to this concern because it is using these pills to solve a practical problem. They don’t have enough personnel. It is a problem they created. So they literally ask the wounded to soldier on. But people treated with SSRIs need to be followed carefully and medication adjusted or new ones tried if there are signs of adverse effects. This doesn’t happen on the battlefield. These pills are just bandaids for serious wounds.

I know the propaganda that would be churned out if we determined our adversaries were drugging their fighters. Apparently it’s OK if we do it. More importantly, our citizens are being wounded and we are sending them back without healing them. We are giving them the mental health equivalent of painkillers so they can continue to fight. Doctors who do this are a disgrace and the Army medical corps worse than a disgrace. This is not only malpractice but the unethical practice of medicine. They should have their stateside medical licenses revoked.

The fact that it won’t happen doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

Comments

  1. #1 Karen
    June 15, 2008

    The only good that can come of this is if the use of antidepressants can reduce the incidents of PTSD. That doesn’t necessarily outweigh the damage, though.

    The really scary thing is that these people will be sent home and probably not well-monitored as they withdraw from the drugs, and we’ll see even more suicides.

  2. #2 Lea
    June 15, 2008

    Disgusting yes. Big Pharma is happy though.

    There is one solution in the medical treatment relief area but I don’t feel like arguing with MRK over it today.
    Prohibitionists in essence are saying to Patients: “Drop Dead!”

  3. #3 Aaron Golas
    June 15, 2008

    Meanwhile, the solders who DO develop PTSD are apparently being discharged on charges of misconduct or pre-existing personality disorders, so the military doesn’t have to pay for their treatment. (Here, via here)

  4. #4 tony
    June 15, 2008

    This may help explain suicide trends in enlisted personnel, unfortunately.

  5. #5 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 15, 2008

    But they do serve their purpose and that is to keep them frosty while they are in combat situations. Congress determines how many troops we have at any given time by manpower requirements and the budgets and yes this is a likely reason for this. We have seen a glaring problem with our three regional war scenario and that is that indeed we dont have enough troops. Estimates are wrong and occupation of a country takes a load of people.

    Dont give them the meds? Okay, so they get dead either way…. I would rather be fired up and have a fighting chance. Me, I have had to take them before and for two or three months at a time for 6 day/10 hours a day in Central America. Pure fatigue set in from heat, dehydration, crappy food and crapping your tail off from amoebic. Feeling bad? Started to think I was going to see Ed Asner.

    Why are they doing it? After a while you start getting stupid. Couple of months of this isnt going to hurt them but man, opening up a can of worms for post war stress and drug dependencies. They do have to detox them if the use them like that and they make it out alive and dependent.

    BE AWARE though that you are an asset like a pencil or a pistol in the military. Both generally have serial numbers and designations. Everything is expendable. The commanders dont want to but they have a mission to perform and that ladies and gentlemen comes first. Agree or disagree there is no right or wrong on it…Its the rules and if they tell you to take a pill you do it, if they tell you to participate in a psychotic drug experiment you might have the option to volunteer or not. If they order you to take a machine gun nest, you go and do it or die trying. Thats the rules. You dont have to agree or disagree. Its the law in fact.

    Just another day in the neighborhood.

  6. #6 revere
    June 15, 2008

    Randy: What you usually do with the wounded is send them to the rear.

  7. #7 PhysioProf
    June 15, 2008

    Dude, another outstanding post. This is another unimaginably horrible accessory to the fundamental horror that is war.

  8. #8 Lea
    June 15, 2008

    Today is one of those days, headache for two days running, so I’ll tell you now MRK and then let it go.

    You are far too callous: emotionally hardened; unfeeling and indifferent to the suffering of others.
    From your post above this is what I see.
    And whatever happened in your life to get you to this point no doubt I’ll never know.

    There has to be a better way and if we ain’t looking for it then we’re no better than those that we criticize.

    K: half way through the Tibetan article, very interesting indeed.

  9. #9 Grace RN
    June 15, 2008

    IMHO, this just delays the inevitable, our all-volunteer army is long past the point of complete mental and physical exhaustion.

    If TPTB insist on continuing this obscene war, the much hated-draft will have to be restarted. Guess that depends on how many trillions of dollars/euros they feel they’ll need to make before quitting the war business. After all, that was the real reason to start the damn thing.

    Alexander the Great used narcotics to sustain his army in times of great duress; indiscriminate use of SSRI’s isn’t much different. As a patient with chronic depression, my life has literally been saved by the use of these antidepressants, so please understand that I’m not anti-psych med. Just psychotically anti-war.

  10. #10 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 15, 2008

    Lea its a hard world out there in combat. As I have said before, you can always decide not to enlist. So these problems are self generated.

    When they pass these things out its for a big time hard reason. It might be foo few troops, or battle fatigue, or an expected attack. No real battles lately. But then again we arent asking the important questions? How often is it being done? Whacking them up on speed isnt going to get better performance out of them for more than a day or two, week max. You have a wide awake sleepy person. Yep, have seen quite a few get a little crazy…Remember the statements about get the weapon away from them first? We would use tie wraps and as Revere said, send them to the rear.

    Tanking or toke. Thats the assertion. One is under a doctors supervision and not the squad medic. The other will get you arrested and discharged under less than honorable conditions. The doctor is in for sick call every day either by radio or in person. The medics would take the hard cases to them. Everything else they handled.

    The medics? They may be the ones handing them out. I dont know how its delivered, happening or how widespread it is. It is worth asking though. Indeed it is a good post Revere.

    Lea I am not unfeeling about any of this. Far from it. Just been there is all. Be glad thats all that some of them are having to do. I am glad that in this particular adventure they are at least getting everything they need unlike Vietnam. If they are taking fire in Afghanistan, that will make you dog tired. In Vietnam they used to hit in 3 hour intervals while others (NVA or VC) got some sleep in the privacy of a tunnel somewhere. Those hits were nothing major as a rule, but they kept the troops up all night. We figured it out and decided to send our guys out on patrols away from the bases. They started getting some sleep and the attacks if they came were sporadic. Sleeping pills? I never had any of those but the speed came in handy on more than one occasion. I was awake for three days once and was red tagged on the third day. I came down and found myself in the hospital… had slept for two days and didnt feel the needle in my arm dripping fluids in and I guess feeding me too. Hungry as Hell afterwards. Back into the field five days later.

    No I really do feel for these guys because we wont go in and finish the job. Thats the diff between everything before Korea and to now. We were in it to win and win it as fast as humanly possible in WWII. If they are attacking us out of Iran in Afghanistan then we should just warn them that we are going to start hitting their strongholds there with air strikes. Well there I go again, I cant be politically correct when we have troops in the field. You all know my position on borders and being bombed. If they do attack us I think we should take them off the map completely and that would include their families too.

    I also think that the Dems in the Senate and GWB need to take a ride to a forward FAC position, or to a hot LZ and make a run for the trenches. Thats a long run Lea…. You feel like you have your pants around your ankles and a ball and chain around your waist. You feel like you are running too slow but really you arent. You wait for the rounds to come in and sometimes they do. You hope that they dont get you or one of your friends but deep inside you are thinking if it has to be someone, let it be that same friend. You hate yourself for it.

    So really I feel for these guys more than you know. I wouldnt be on the constant rant to knock the crap out of them. How long would Vietnam have lasted if Hanoi had been leveled? Haiphong? We could have just sat back and tagged them by air but nope, gotta have that quarterbacked with politically correct. I agree with Grace. I am anti-war. But if you got to fight one you get in and get your political and military goals attained and then get the hell out. Protracted war costs too much in mens minds and bodies. Both have a count that is always too high.

    Revere-Being tired isnt a casualty in my book. I slept just fine as long as I knew I was covered by a sentry or two. Hell, we were always tired and yes it took its toll every now and then on the troops. Not often though. Whacked up on stuff probably would make it worse. The Army in particular has long known just about how far they could push a squad or platoon. If it gets up to brigades being on drugs then yep you got a big problem. A lot of this has to do with the command structure and there are literally regulations on how much and how long you can put people out with no sleep, no food, etc.

    But I look at it like this too. Guadalcanal… Marines and some Army were sent in and left there for almost 8 months with limited or no food. They lost 2 for every 1 casualty to disease. But the key was that they didnt get any help at all and were in a constant state of combat. No reinforcements, no food, clean water for 8 months. They HAD to perform regardless. The Japanese had it even worse than we did. I dont know whether they used drugs on them but we know that post of this the Marines in particular had a lot of them take a trip to la-la land in the head. Many never returned. Sometimes you have to give your all for your country and that doesnt necessarily mean your life. My dad was in the Slot every night for those 8 months and they got no sleep whatsoever on the ships either. Now the Navy did give out speed and they withdrew and slept during the daytime when there was air cover. I have no idea how extensive it was. It was something else then though it think.

    GC was a turning point in WWII and we prevailed as a result. If they hadnt, then there would have been another Bataan. Its okay to be against all wars guys. I just want to give you a perspective from being in it myself and what it can do to you. The regs get suspended in a GC. Gone, finis, outta there. It drops as it did in Bastogne to one thing and that is to complete the mission. Bastogne Germany in WWII nearly every man there got the Purple Heart, Silver Star and quite a few posthumously. But they completed their mission which was to hold the town and surrounding area. You have seen the series Band of Brothers on TV at least once by now and this is the difference now. We no longer fight wars to win them. We get into these police actions rather than just taking it to the people who are in charge of the problems and generating them. Osama? Attacking Iran? Inevitable that we get them both or Israel will. They unlike us fight wars to win them, they dont give them aid afterwards and while they do try to limit civilian casualties, it doesnt bother them too terribly much if they slip up and use a 500 pounder when a 100 would do. It also lights up their opposition, they come out and attack. Then they get to tamp those back too. So the old assertion about genocide comes to mind. If we were sitting in NYC and were getting attacked every day, what would we do about it? We arent, but we could be sometime later.

    You decide. We got hit once. We can pull back, let them have the economies of the world on a platter and likely 200-400 a barrel of oil and they’ll finance superguns, new missiles, and all on our dime. So do we fight wars to win them or to continue this crap we have been doing since Korea? You are voters. ..I leave you to answer the question. But do remember if we went for the throat and got the leadership we would have our people back. Nope, no security forces, no police actions. Just drop the opposition off the planet. If the others squabble and start talking oil embargoes then raise the price of food by 50% as the price of oil has been to us either directly or indirectly.

    And oops to all. I just saw the link to the story that Revere cites. Do read it. I did all of the above and lo and behold it bears out what I said pretty much. We need to take the offensive and do what we all know is going to be necessary before it gets any worse…. Iran. Then let Israel do Syria. Shut off whatever oil is being sent to Korea and they’ll fold up too.

    Then we wait for the next one.

  11. #11 g336
    June 16, 2008

    I agree with RK about this: If you’re going to go to war, you do the job effectively, completely, and as quickly as possible.

    We dropped the ball in Afghanistan: Tora Bora, need I say more?

    Afghanistan was a military necessity for our own defense against further attacks. We should have gone in there full force, no holds barred, and exterminated every last vestige of the Taliban including the cultural elements that supported it.

    And then we should have rebuilt the place along such lines as would prevent a recurrence. The first and most critical step would be the legal and cultural means for full equality of women. That one step would destroy any potential for Taliban culture to redevelop. It could be enforced at every stage from zero tolerance for “honor killings,” to the execution of tribal leaders who refused to comply, to the takeover of the means of education. The first village that refused to comply could have been leveled and the word spread that this would be the penalty for resisting.

    And the same paradigm could also be applied to opium cultivation.

    It would take a 30-year occupation (one generation from infancy into adulthood) to be sure that the new cultural memes took hold. So be it.

    Instead we ended up with a war of choice in Iraq, with a complete lack of planning for the post-maneuver phase of conflict, the result being a quagmire with no clean way out other than to simply leave and let the tribes eat each other if they so choose.

    Meanwhile Afghanistan is producing opium equivalent to 130% of the world demand for heroin. And the Taliban and Al Qaeda are on the upswing.

    What ever happened to “It happened on my watch, sir.”…?

    That’s what we get for having two draft-dodgers in the White House.

  12. #12 Cathie
    June 16, 2008

    During my NIMH fellowship in one of the major psychiatry departments, I observed too much drug pushing and too little concern for the patients. The reasons were simple:
    1. An Rx check takes 5 minutes including charting and psychotherapy takes 50 minutes plus charting time.
    2. The psychiatrists and pschologists do not have a good understanding of how people develop mental problems, and many have little interest in etiology. Current research has little interest in etiology if it isn’t genetic.
    3. In many cases, the Psychiatrists and psychologists don’t value their patients. (And sometimes they have too much interest — at a personal level — and get overwhelmed in one way or another, often burnout.)
    4. Their focus is on who is paying the pt bills — what does ‘the insurance company’ want to pay for.

    Yes, drugging soldiers with SSRIs to put them back on the battle field should be grounds for delicensing — but unfortunately it is in line with today’s psychiatry approach. That the Army is following current psychiatry’s wrong-headedness is not a surprise.

    No research shows that anti-depressants prevent PTSD. Whoever added that idiocy to give the Army a pass, is just making something up.

  13. #13 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 17, 2008

    Cathie-They are passing out ADD/ADHD pills in the field. Its Ritalin or so I am told. Funny thing though about that delicensing. A study was done in one of the affluent area school systems here in Shelby and they found that 1/3rd off all of the elementary school students in five different schools were on the same medications. Middle school was about 1/4th and 1/8th in HS.

    Drug control begins at home and starts with dumbass parents. The guys who come up with these criteria for “ADD/ADHD” are the same guys who make the pills. It cant serve any purpose in the long term to give military members anti depressants, how about kids.

    No wonder the DoD doesnt consider it to be a problem.

  14. #14 Grace RN
    June 17, 2008

    MRK-
    The link between Ritalin (aka speed) and kids is $$$$-once kids have a ‘label’ their parents can be eligible for more $$ from the state or feds for their ‘handicapped child’.

    If it is truly needed-and I’ve seen some whoppers of kids with ADD/ADHD-that’s one thing. This is worse-parents ‘pimping’ their kids out on drugs to get more $$$. Maybe the Army learned that trick from them.

  15. #15 Grace Rn
    June 17, 2008

    Oh, and MRK-re “..let them have the economies of the world on a platter and likely 200-400 a barrel of oil and they’ll finance superguns, new missiles, and all on our dime….”

    The new paradigm-TPTB in our country who profit-is there a stronger word than obscenely?-from oil also rule our country. Their allegiance is only to their bottom line-not the future of the USA. If Lady Liberty really mattered to them, these profits would have been pushed into technologies to pull the oil pipeline out of our addicted veins and into alternative energy sources-at which point we could tell the oil peddlers to go to Hades.

    But that hasn’t been done-so we see what their agenda is, always has been and will continue to be-”I’ve got mine, and I’ll get yours’ too.”

  16. #16 Cathie
    June 17, 2008

    Psych pharm is very valuable when used correctly, which means that appropriate psychotherapy must be provided — cognitive tx looks as though it is much more effective than the other ‘talking-cures’. But when child after child (and soldier after soldier) is indescriminately lined up for the same rx, something is terribly wrong. My fellow fellows were mostly not concerned — except one resident told me to get off the ADD-ADHD clinic on my first day. I asked why, and he said, “I don’t want to be on this service! EVERY kid has ADD??!!” Sure enough, I did some checking and found that the medical director consulted on Ritalin. We are now seeing that this is common practice among the higher ups in psych.

    Someone recently asked me why the more recent generations of military personnel are having so many problems with PTSD/depression/suicide — and I reminded them that the earlier treatment was alcohol, self-treatment that is — alcohol abuse is frequent among vets from WWI & II, as well as Korea/VN/Afphanistan/Iraq et all. And frequent in the general population also, of course.

    That leads to a discussion of base rates — the age groups in active military are also the same age groups that have elevated psych dx. The military and war are not entirely ‘to blame’ for all psychiatric sx or dx — but we need to provide appropriate humane treatment to active military and vets. That some are being dishonorably discharged with personality dx, as Aaron mentioned, is unconscionable as these dx should prevent military service, and do not suddenly appear in young adulthood.

  17. #17 Lea
    June 17, 2008

    Have also heard that the need for medicines exist because of not getting enough quality sleep.

    Legalize cannabis for crying out loud.

  18. #18 revere
    June 17, 2008

    Lea: I’m all for decriminalizing pot. Waste of time, money and lives to prosecute pot smokers. Monumentally stupid.

  19. #19 Cathie
    June 18, 2008

    Better quality lives & jobs would produce better sleep, not meds or pot. Why do people expect to sleep with the high chaos work, learning and home environments that are almost imposible to avoid?

    Pot may seem benign to many people, but it makes people stupid. While on it, and after longterm use – swiss cheese cognition. But yes, the govt’s love for prosecuting low level drug users/dealers is a waste of taxes, time and effort — i.e., pot makes both the users and government monumentally stupid.

  20. #20 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 18, 2008

    Yeah, now I have had to offer more than one troop who was stoned out in the field a court-martial or having his own troops tag him. Cannabis when you are in a critical situation will flat dull you to the point you dont care and that gets someone kilt. I dont want guys in the field even near any drugs if I can help it speed or otherwise. MJ today is hugely more potent than the stuff from 20 years ago. Guys will sleep fine if they can de-stress a bit and feel safe. I used to sleep with my safety off and go to sleep with no less than 5-30 rounder mags fully packed. I always slept pretty good. My boss said I could sleep on a fence post if someone would prop me up on it.

  21. #21 revere
    June 18, 2008

    Randy: Sounds a lot like the effects of alcohol to me. Maybe we should make alcohol illegal, too.

  22. #22 Lea
    June 18, 2008

    Absolutely correct revere.

    The key point is that the increase happened under prohibition, and prohibition keeps users from being able to get a standardized product. Moreover, prohibition creates incentives to increase potency of any contraband. In other words, they are blaming cannabis for supposed problems that were aggravated by prohibition.

  23. #23 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 18, 2008

    It is in the field Revere.

    Drugs and alcohol around people arming say 500 pounders that fly over people probably isnt a good idea…. Or say maybe a 30 megaton warhead? Same thing if you generally outnumbered, outgunned or both in a firefight. If someone has speed in their system to keep them awake then you might have a chance. Asleep and stoned is going to have just the opposite desired effect.

    Cant have your cake and eat it too in these situations. I truly wonder how those guys in Valley Forge, Bunker Hill, etc did it without drugs, shrinks and supplies…. Outnumbered, no food and all against the British Land Pattern Rifle that fired a 3/4th inch ball. Shit, you might have been killed.

  24. #24 revere
    June 18, 2008

    Randy: Let’s stick to the point. Your argument against decriminalizing pot — a total non sequitur — was that you wouldn’t want a soldier smoking it in battle because it blurred their performance and judgment. If that’s an argument for making pot illegal it is also an argument for making alcohol illegal. If not, then your point was 100% irrelevant. Which it was.

  25. #25 Cathie
    June 18, 2008

    I wouldn’t want to be on a battle field with troops on any type of psych drugs — SSRIs, Ritalin or any of the newer anti-ADHD/ADD drugs, pot, alcohol — I’d want cold hard reality. Those who truly have ADD/ADHD have zero abuse potential with Ritalin, that is one of the mysteries of the dx — they do not get high at all (or possibly not at usual dose levels). People with guns should be processing information in a way that they have been processing information for all of their lives.

    People on SSRIs are a bit in lala land — apparently the SSRIs disconnect them from the stimuli that have been making them anxious/depressed. Generally their stories are still the same, they just seem to be less able to make the connection between difficulties in their lives and their affect. I wanted to see what an SSRI was like so I took one pill – once — within an hour I was ready to commit myself. I couldn’t think, or more correctly — couldn’t think in an organized way. Maybe they work differently in someone who is depressed — I sure hope so.

    I have a great respect for the military — my grad program was half military, and I can tell you straight off that the military guys were the better half. The problem of giving SSRIs and Ritalin to keep troops fighting is a medical, not military, decision led by the impoverished thinking that pervades our current drug-pusher psychiatry and psychology training programs.

    I suspect that the medics and field MDs have been encouraged to think they are doing ‘good’ by academic psychiatry consultants. The same “professionals” who are giving SSRIs to infants these days — so the infants don’t cry or fuss. We have SSRIS in our drinking water, . . . students who are given Ritalin instead of active game time . . . drivers who are zonked on all sorts of psychotropics . . .I think psych rx is a huge public health problem.

    And yes, Revere, suicide bombers are often steeped in drugs, though it is never said which ones — I’ve suspected SSRIs would do the trick. What a demoralizing story this will be for the troops if it ever gets widespread attention.

  26. #26 Cathie
    June 18, 2008

    Corrections:
    First paragraph, last sentence:
    “BUT people with guns should be processing . . ”

    Last paragraph, second sentence:
    “That they are on drugs disavows the ‘pure’ motive claimed by the terrorists. What a demoralizing story this will be for OUR troops if it ever gets widespread attention.”

  27. #27 Lea
    June 18, 2008

    Let’s divorce marijuana prohibition and marry our country’s marijuana laws to our common values regarding responsibility and equal protection under the law. There is no reason today that a marijuana smoker should be treated like a criminal.

    What we’re talking about is responsible adults consuming cannabis in a responsible manner. Those that cannot be responsible are held accountable, period.

    You have no clue as to how beneficial it could be to our soldiers over the antidepressants.
    Responsibility, it is possible while they receive the necessary relief they so deserve. I don’t believe for a minute that a responsible soldier is going to smoke it while they’re out in the field.
    As far as making people stupid, that’s irresponsible use and it happens in every single area of life.

    Here’s a little gem I dug up today:
    Scientific studies indicate that marijuana can halt the spread of numerous cancer cells, including the type that Kennedy suffers from.

  28. #28 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 18, 2008

    Cathie-Revere. Point is IMO that they shouldnt be on anything. Battle fatigue in the military is NOT a disabling problem according to the military. Its just that fatigue in which you can get killed. You keep sending them in. As for the docs, they are just like most doctors out there now and in many cases National Guard civilians pulling their 180 days out in the field as required if called up. These are the same docs we are seeing on a day to day basis in the civilian world, but you never know what you are going to get.

    E.g. the guys prescribing may just be following a protocol by the head honcho of the psychiatric side of the DoD medical branch. I saw my wifes gynecologist when I was in the field in C. America in 94. Imagine my surprise when I was being examined by the medic for a stitch up job for a laceration. The MD on duty came in to take a look because of how nasty a cut it was. He is currently the OB/GYN chair at UT-Memphis and still a Bull Colonel. I saw osteopaths, PA’s, etc. If they didnt know what to do they called the chain of command to get what they needed. For example I helped deliver a baby in Honduras with our medic and a radio operator. Is that the case here? We have patient X who has a problem with sleeping? So is that 17% number right? Wars are carnage and chaos. We havent had any of that lately. fI could understand it more if they were doing more than house to houses and getting shot at, but thats just not happening. Maybe in Afghanistan but the USAF is reaching out to touch them right now more than the Army.

    Is it a command decision or a local one for these docs to prescribe it? I dont know, it needs to be found out. Everyone is on a no more than a 18 month rotation now Revere. A lot can happen of course but it intrigues me that in that time these guys are falling apart. Shit, I was in the field for three years and never got one leave except to brief command people on one-on-ones which meant a helicopter ride and in hot zones in and out. I only took the speed when I knew it was going to be a long three or four days and I still slept at the end of each crash back.. Soundly.

    If they are having problems, is it more because they are basically targets or because they are tired as you say because of the duty requirements? I also wonder if the people they are putting in are up to the tasking to begin with. It doesnt take much to be infantry. Follow orders and do the job. A lot of guys I know that are in the ARNG wouldnt last more than 15 minutes in a firefight and its mostly because they are dumb. I mean really, there is very little happening on the ground now from a military standpoint. What is the root cause and what is the military response.

    When they go out do they simply have to worry about an occasional roadside IED or suicide bomber? Or is it some guys with the Taliban? I watch the CENTCOM feeds every day and as far as I can tell there isnt that much. I know that the news isnt about Iraq so much now, its about the 30 minutes of news feed and the price of gas. What is the real problem here?

    Times feed is that the issue is really drugs being given to them. Emotional and physical trauma being dealt with? Is Time trying to make news that is derogatory, or is it really that they are tranked or tanked. Are these guys really that messed up?

    Post service problems may have already been on the slate before they went in. A lot of military guys go on to be very good criminals post of every war and then its blamed on their service. A lot of them have criminal records and mental problems prior so who is showing up for sick call? In Desert Storm in advance of the short but major engagement the briefings would go out to the squad levels and within a few hours, sick call would be full up.

    Who said they were dumb? Not wanting to go out and get shot at isnt such a bad thing. But on the whole the mental capabilities for infantry are not that high. You want in they’ll take you based upon certain scores and those ASVAB scores have fallen every year since 2000 for people in the military. Setting the standards too low, or is it the need for a draft? A lot of unanswered questions here and maybe, just maybe we should just say no and make them go through it unmedicated?

  29. #29 Lea
    June 18, 2008

    “just say no”
    Brilliant

  30. #30 victoria
    June 18, 2008

    We are stuck between a rock and a hard place here.

    Here in Australia you are able to get government supplied joints for patients with particular prolonged and painful diseases – only after rigorous vetting and safety procedures, and with the added benefit of cannabis strength control.

    However, I believe, in Holland they are seeing increased cases of patients with clinical psychosis, schizophrenia etc due to the prolonged use of cannabis. Much of the cannibis that you find on the streets is now so strong that it very quickly causes problems for users. There is no way that the user can know the chemical composition of the cannabis. Even if cannabis was legaised it would still be open to abuse. It is a powerful drug.

  31. #31 Lea
    June 18, 2008

    The results of a recent study reporting reporting hippocampal volume reductions in long-term, heavy users of cannabis are based on only 15 cases, and are inconsistent with previously published research, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said today.

    The widely reported study, published this week in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, found that chronic cannabis smokers (who averaged at least five joints per day for a period of 20 years) experience a measurable (via structural magnetic resonance imaging) reduction in the hippocampus and amygdala compared to non-users.

    Commenting on the new study, Armentano said that although the exceptionally heavy use of cannabis may pose unique yet subtle health hazards, these potential risks are likely irrelevant to the overwhelming majority of cannabis consumers who use the drug in moderation.

    “While these preliminary results are a cause of concern, they must be replicated in a much larger sample size before we can begin making any determinations regarding whether there may exist a cause-and-effect relationship, or whether these results may hold any significance for the millions of Americans who consume cannabis on a far more limited basis,” he said.

    Armentano added that a previous assessment of long-term cannabis use on hippocampal volume found no adverse effects associated with marijuana use.

    Numerous studies of cannabis use on neurocognitive abilities have also failed to indicate that marijuana use has residual adverse impacts on cognition.

    Armentano concluded: “While we have known for decades that chronic alcohol use is toxic to the brain, this fact is not a justification for arresting and incarcerating the millions of Americans who enjoy a glass of wine or beer with dinner. As is the case with alcohol, the findings of this study even if we are to take them at face value are an argument in favor of legalization, education, and moderation not criminal prohibition.”

  32. #32 Lea
    June 18, 2008

    If there are real dangers in the long term use of large amounts of cannabis, then the information should be presented in a credible way so that people can make their own informed decisions about whether the pleasure they are getting is worth whatever the risks might be. We make decisions like that every day about food, drink, travel, etc., and weigh the relative risks.

  33. #33 Lea
    June 19, 2008

    Dutchnews.nl reported that the outgoing chairman of the Dutch police union (NPB) Hans van Duijn called for the legalization of cannabis, meaning licensed growing to supply the licensed retail system, because the present practice of trying to outlaw growing only leads to more crime. (He’s also in favor of letting long time addicts use hard drugs under supervision.)

    He says that this is the only way to effectively fight drug related crime, which takes a great deal of the police’s time and energy and other crime issues suffer from it.

    He said that most senior police officers feel the same way, but Dutch politicians are reluctant to consider legalizing cannabis, because of international pressure they prefer to put their heads in the sand.

    ——————————————-
    As the potency of pot rises, people simply smoke less of it.

  34. #34 Michael
    June 19, 2008

    Cannabis is one of the singularly safest medicines known to humankind, with a 5,000+ year record of continuous use without a single fatality having been established in that time.

  35. #35 Michael
    June 19, 2008

    Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha’Olam Borei P’ri Ha’Kanehbos Etz Chaim. Cannabis is on the first and last pages of the Bible.

    Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

    Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

  36. #36 victoria
    June 19, 2008

    Wasn’t there a WHO, 25 year study, with thousands of people, all over the world, done on this very subject?

    Who, I believe, did not recommend decriminalisation of cannabis, because of the detrimental effects of long and short term use on human beings.

    I can understand the reluctance of governments, around the world, not wishing to decriminalise the use of cannabis. If any government makes a poor policy choices in the health sector, the consequences for the public can last for generations.

    However, I think all governments should make available, strength controlled cannabis joints for those that are incapacitated by painful conditions that can be alleviated by the occasional use of this drug.

    Thirty years ago, Mary Jane was innocuous, gave one a slight buzz etc. Did nothing for me. The cannabis out there now is excessively strong and highly addictive. I do not see any government legalising this drug.

  37. #37 Michael
    June 19, 2008

    Cannabis is not physically addictive, and is no stronger than it ever was. This is propaganda.

  38. #38 Cathie
    June 19, 2008

    The post above that begins with:

    “The results of a recent study reporting reporting hippocampal volume reductions in long-term, heavy users of cannabis are based on only 15 cases . . . ”

    is plagiarism.

    That entire posting is copied verbatum from material on another website.

  39. #39 victoria
    June 19, 2008

    Michael,

    You have every right to believe that cannabis is non addictive and that it is no stronger than it ever was, I, however choose to believe differently, I know that the cannabis is highly potent and addictive. I do not see any government decriminalising cannabis, is all I am saying.

    Human Beings being Human Beings, there will always be someone out there looking to blow the top of their heads of with ever more powerful drugs. Cannabis does affect the brains of both long term and short term users. The damage done to the brain by long term use, in particular, is permanent. I am sure that practically everyone reading this site knows someone who is a pot head (permanently brain damaged) or has heard of someone that is a pot head.

    Cathie, almost everyone on a blog plagiarises. Live and let live.

  40. #40 Michael
    June 19, 2008

    Annual Causes of Death in the United States

    Tobacco (Average 1990 – 94): …………………………… 430,700
    Alcohol (1996): …………………………………………. 110,640
    Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs (1982 / 1998): .. 32,000
    Suicide (1998): ………………………………………….. 30,575
    Homicide (1998): ……………………………………….. 18,272
    All licit and illicit drug-induced deaths (1998): …………. 16,926
    Non-Steroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs (1992):………… 7,600
    Marijuana: ……………………………………………… 0

  41. #41 Michael
    June 19, 2008

    Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

    1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

  42. #42 paiwan
    June 19, 2008

    Most of addictions are harmful: addictions have tangible- drugs: and intangible- idealisms. Nevertheless, they are holy diseases- indicating spiritual thirst. :-) I am not the first one to say this observation. Scott Peck in his book “Further to the road less traveled” has good discussion; it is a good book to read.

    About cannabis, I agree with Victoria; I think that the prudent stance is safer. My bravery has not grown in that area:-)

    Once you also aware of the idealism that you are prone to addict; then you may experience the fight against it and the thriving from it.

  43. #43 llewelly
    June 19, 2008

    Revere:

    Randy: What you usually do with the wounded is send them to the rear.

    As Randy said, the US military has its fingers in so many pies it can’t possibly spare the soldiers. In addition, the wounded already being sent to the rear greatly exceed the infrastructure available (as you have written about many times here). Mis-use of SSRIs is a symptom – and it will not respond to anything less than bringing all the soldiers home.

  44. #44 Lea
    June 19, 2008

    Michael, thanks for your contribution.

    Maybe you should spend some time at the norml site then Cathie, you might learn something. At least you’d get an education as to how the “other side” sees things and perhaps, just perhaps, step away from all the lies and propaganda you’re being fed.

    It’s no surprise that prohibition-supporting bureaucrats whose goals are to eliminate competition to pharmaceuticals have attempted to propagandize marijuana potency as some sort of health concern.

  45. #45 Lea
    June 19, 2008

    Do you have the tenacity to really discover the truth or are you going to let the government and the oligarchy’s continue to think for you?

    Posted by: tony | June 15, 2008 7:08 PM
    This may help explain suicide trends in enlisted personnel, unfortunately.

    Watch the video people, then tell me how you could possible believe in any crap that you are fed.
    Our soldiers are being mistreated by the very fact that they are being given anti depressants. It’s a quick fix and nothing more.
    How dare you “concerned citizens” allow this to happen, ore even entertain that it’s o.k. Shame on you!

    Antidepressants Facts, The Truth about Psychiatry Depression
    1. They Don’t Work
    2. Antidepressants have no impact…
    3. Almost 50 clinical trials were reviewed by psychiatrist and they concluded …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsBZw6q7uBU&feature=related

    If you don’t have the guts to listen to the whole thing at least listen to the first four minutes. Total time is 6:20 minutes.

    This one reveals William Randolph Hearst and a whole lot more.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r2zJQvs1Qo
    The Lie of Cannabis Prohibition
    6:20 minutes, watch it and then come talk me to me.

    No one, absolutely no one, in history has ever died from a pot overdose.

  46. #46 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 20, 2008

    No they probably havent. But here is a nice link for all of those who want to smoke the stuff. My best counsel is that you dont drive a car, you dont fly on a plane, you dont try to have children, you pray you dont get cancer, you hope that the children that you do parent out dont develop learning disabilities…

    Else, smoke away.

    Lea… I do kow aht a DC-3 crashed in Longwood TN in the early 80′s onto a pig farm. The plane was loaded with shit. The pigs ate the stuff and they died from acute MJ poisoning. Apparently the toxic level if you eat it is in relation to the THC content it possesses. Pot heads are rife in this city along with the crack and heroin users. We are now just four deaths away from being number one… All in the spirit of drugs. Cant have the population loaded up on anything else they become problems for the rest of society. They cant get a job, they cant hold one if they do. If they start with marijuana especially if its laced with coke, its only about a month before they are into brown heroin here.

    Here’s the link. It has all sorts of important stuff about MJ.

    http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims/plant/cannabis.htm#SectionTitle:7.4%20Teratogenicity.

  47. #47 victoria
    June 20, 2008

    Randolph,

    There is also something else to take into consideration.

    I believe, the Human brain does not complete its full development until the age of 25. By the age of 25 the brain is fully developed and from that point in time the brain cells start dying. Over 25′s, sure, go and knock yourself out, the loss of a few extra brain cells is neither her nor there.

    Now, I am a total techno-cretin when it comes to research on the net, but I am willing to bet that numbers for addiction, psychological problems and brain damage due to excessive cannabis use will be fairly high in the under 25 age bracket. Yet, another reason why cannabis will never be decriminalised.

  48. #48 Lea
    June 20, 2008

    The pigs probably died because they over ate. Dogs will eat themselves to death if allowed.
    Your laced with cocain theory is bogus MRK, and if I had more time I’d post the facts showing you otherwise.
    Neither of you have all the facts, all you want to do is believe what “they” tell you.

    normal.org victoria, doesn’t take a computer wizard to type that into google search.

    We’re talking regulated responsible use, period.
    Do you even bother to read what I type?

  49. #49 Lea
    June 20, 2008

    http://www.norml.org/

    sorry, got it wrong above. there’s your link, no excuse now to not take a serious look at it.

  50. #50 Douglas
    June 21, 2008

    “Meanwhile, the solders who DO develop PTSD are apparently being discharged on charges of misconduct or pre-existing personality disorders, so the military doesn’t have to pay for their treatment.”
    Aaron hits the nail square on.

    One way our military is denying VA benefits to those veterans who need it most is through the Patriot Act, of all things.
    They run all recruits through the database search now allowed by the Patriot Act, and try to find pre-existing conditions, and then use these reports to deny medical benefits. Using terrorist tracking against our own, in order to save money; Is this what our soldiers are fighting for?
    As usual, the military compounds the problems suffered by those who risked their lives, for country and fellow soldiers. No wonder that suicide levels are higher than the military will allow to be reported.

  51. #51 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 21, 2008

    REMEMBER Lea, that part of job in the military was drug interdiction. The first bails always had the coke going out of the plane. Coke laced MJ is what they are stopping here on the freeway and we get about a load a week. Largest bust ever made was right her in Memphis. Dubious honor.

    Love and kisses Lea. I wont bring it up again because I know its a hot button for you.

  52. #52 Lea
    June 21, 2008

    You’re absolutely right Douglas in your last paragraph. It appears that soldiers, sailors, marines and so on, old and new, will never really receive the respect, care and concern that the largest percentage of them deserve.
    While I won’t share my own disappointments over military healthcare, I will say it’s not even close to the high standards that it should be at.

    MRK: and this is why I call you friend, Thank YOU. I am of the mindset that someday I’ll be able to share something with you concerning this subject and you’ll give it two, three or four more thoughts. Of course you do realize your personal experiences put a crimp in your viewpoint.

  53. #53 Dan
    September 29, 2008

    Presently, for the treatment of depression and other mental disorders, some of these disorders are questionable regarding thier existence, the preferred choice of medicinal treatment are a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, referred to as SSRIs, as they are the drugs of choice by most prescribers. Such meds, meds that affect the mind, are called psychotropic medications. SSRIs also include a few meds in this class with the addition of a norepinephrine uptake inhibitor added to the SSRI, and these are referred to SNRI medications. Examples of SNRIs are Effexor and Cymbalta. Presently, some compare the usage and popularity of these classes of meds as that of the usage of tranquilizers decades ago.

    Some Definitions:

    Serotonin is a neurotransmitter thought to be associated with mood. The hypothesis was first suggested in the mid 1960s that this neurotransmitter may play a role in moods and emotions in humans. Yet to this day, the serotonin correlation with such behavioral and mental conditions and diseases is only theoretical. In fact, the psychiatrist’s bible, which is called the DSM, states that the definite etiology of depression remains a mystery and is unknown. So a claim of a chemical imbalance in the brain as a reason for depression is not proven to be the cause of this and other mood disorders, it is only suspected based on limited science, which may or may not be valid. Observation by one’s doctor is usually the determining factor for such a diagnosis.

    Norepinephrine is a stress hormone, which many believe help those who have such mood disorders as depression. Perhaps this is now added to SSRIs for additional efficacy for those treated with these medications.

    And depression is only one of those mood disorders, yet possibly the most devastating one. Once again, an accurate diagnosis of these mood conditions lack complete accuracy as they can only be defined conceptually, so the diagnosis is dependent on subjective criteria, such as questionnaires, as there is no diagnostic testing available to conclude objective diagnosis of such disorders. However, the diagnosis of depression in patients has increased quite a bit over the decades. While most likely a real disease, most will agree, misdiagnosis does occur due to the subjective assessment that determines the disease, as perhaps one out of every four people diagnosed with depression is inaccurate.

    Several decades ago, less than 1 percent of the U.S. population were thought to have depression. Today, it is believed that about 10 percent of the population have depression at some time in their lives. Why this great increase in the growth in the assessment of this condition remains unknown and is subject to speculation. What is known is that the psychiatry specialty is the one specialty most paid to by certain pharmaceutical companies for various forms of support, as this industry clearly desires market growth of their psychotropic products, such as SSRIs, since clearly this is part of their nature and objective as a pharmaceutical company. Regardless, SSRIs and SRNIs are the preferred treatment methods if depression or other certain mood disorders that may be suspected by a doctor.

    Over 30 million scripts of these types of meds are written annually, and the franchise is around 20 billion dollars a year, with some of the meds costing over 3 dollars per tablet. There are about ten different SSRI/SRNI meds available, many of which are now generic, yet essentially, they appear to be similar in regards to their efficacy and adverse events. The newest one, a SNRI called Pristiq, was approved this month and is expected to be promoted primarily for the treatment for menopause. Conversely, the first one of these SSRI meds was Prozac, which was available in 1988, and the drug was greatly praised for its ability to transform the lives of those who consumed this medication in the years that followed. Some termed Prozac, ‘the happy pill’. As years passed, this drug was preferred for children with depression. Also, a book was written praising Prozac as a euphoric entity for all to experience.

    Furthermore, these meds have received additional indications for really questionable conditions, such as social phobia and premenstrual syndrome. With the latter, I find it hard to believe that a natural female experience can be considered a treatable disease. With social phobia, many would say that is a personality trait and, in my opinion, is synonomous with shyness, which probably should not be labeled a treatable disease as well. There are other indications for certain behavioral manifestations with the different SSRIs or SRNIs. So the market continues to grow with these meds- assisted by thier manufacturers. Yet, it is believed that these meds are effective in only about half of those who take them. Also, the makers of such meds create such conditions for utilization of these types of medications, in my opinion, and are active with related support groups who are funded by the makers of such drugs, such as sponsoring screenings for the indicated and not indicated conditions of their meds, including children and adolescents in particular, it is believed. Yet depression, which has clearly has been proven to be devastating to the victim, such screenings are controversial due to possible bias involved in seeking those with mental illness in this manner.

    More concerning, however, is the adverse effects associated with SSRIs and SRNIs, which include suicidal thoughts and actions, as well as violence, including acts of homicide and aggression. The associations with these actions have been established with these types of meds. While most are approved for use in adults only, prescribing these meds to children and adolescents has drawn the most attention to others through the media. The reasons for this attention are the off-label use of these meds in this population, and the association with suicide. What may be most shocking is the fact that some of the makers of these meds did not release clinical study information about the risks of suicide as well as the other adverse events and true efficacy of certain types of SSRI meds, including the decreased efficacy of SSRIs, which is believed to be only less than 10 percent more effective than a placebo, until ultimately the makers of such drugs were forced to do so. Paxil, for example, caught the attention of the government regarding these issues some time ago for hiding and not presenting such important information to others, for example.

    And there are very serious questions about the use of SSRIs in children and adolescents regarding the effects of these meds on them. For example, do the SSRIs correct or create brain states considered not within normal limits, which in effect may worsen thier mental state? Are adolescents depressed, or just experiencing what was once considered normal teenage angst? Do SSRIs have an effect on the brain development and their identity? Do adolescents in particular become dangerous or bizarre due to SSRIs interfering with the myelination occurring in their still developing brains? No one seems to know the correct answer to such questions, yet the danger associated with the use of SSRIs does in fact exist. It exists in some who take such meds, but not all who take these meds. Yet more need to be aware of such possibilities, some say.

    Finally, if SSRIs are discontinued by those who have taken them for certain periods of time, withdrawals have been reported to be quite brutal, and may be a catalyst for suicide in itself, as not only are these meds habit- forming, but discontinuing these meds leaves the brain in a state of neurochemical instability, as the neurons are recalibrating upon discontinuation of the SSRI after being altered by the med to some degree. This occurs to some level with any psychotropic med, yet the withdrawals can reach a state of danger for the victim in some classes of meds such as the case with SSRIs.

    SSRIs and SRNIs have been claimed by doctors and patients to be extremely beneficial for the patient’s well -being regarding the patient’s issues involved with thier mental illness suspected, such as depression, yet the risk factors associated with this class of medications may outweigh any perceived benefit for the patient taking such a drug, and this may want to be explored more by others. Considering the lack of efficacy that has been demonstrated objectively, along with the deadly adverse events with these meds only recently brought to the attention of others, other treatment options should probably be considered at the discretion of your prescriber.

    “I use to care, but now I take a pill for that.” — Author unknown

    Dan Abshear

    Author’s note: What has been written has been based upon information and belief.