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Veteran says V.A. over-medicating vets

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Veteran says V.A. over-medicating vets

By On Your Side Newsroom. CREATED Jun 5, 2014

‘Thomas” is a local Vietnam vet who saw and did things in the field that ultimately cost him two marriages and a life of chaos. At his request, we have hidden his identity.

“I had no emotions when I came back. Everyone goes through it. You’re trying to kill demons. But demons when you’re drunk or on heavy drugs just get worse,” Thomas explained.

When he went to the VA to address his issues, they handed over a gallon sized bag of narcotics.

The drugs that they gave him? Zoloft, Haldol, Valium, Oxycodone, Xanax and Primidone among others.

On Your Side’s Roland Beres found that over 24 serious drug interactions could occur from taking the medicines. The type of interactions that the VA has admitted that could lead to some deaths.

Kevin Cleveland is Assistant Dean at Idaho State University of Pharmacy and believes that cocktailing all the different medicines can lead to serious complications.

Thomas explained that most of his drugs came from a clinic in Seattle and that the Boise VA has helped him cut back on his meds.

The Boise VA says vets have to take some responsibility for themselves and explained, “When vets come to us and allow us to engage in their healthcare, it’s an engagement. A two-way street. So we do rely on feedback from veteran patients at any time along the way.”

Thomas agrees, but knows, when you’re trying to stop the nightmares, you need support and therapy. Not a mix of powerful prescriptions.

Thomas says he thinks the drugs the VA has prescribed are killing him.

He’s moving to Oregon because he says medical marijuana does what the prescriptions are supposed to do without the side effects that make him feel virtually comatose. But he can’t get the medication that works for him because it’s still illegal in Idaho.