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I’m not sure where to start this post other than to say I am so irate. We all know that veterans often get the short end of the stick when it comes to their healthcare in the United States and with September being suicide prevention month – much more is coming out.

In this week’s Sunday New York Times, the leading article was titled: A Unit Stalked by Suicide, Trying to Save Itself.  There are many things that get me upset when I read this article but what stuck with me the most are the following:

  • These are people who sacrifice themselves for our country
  • These are kids, young people who are in the early to mid-twenties (not the veterans many of us imagine who are older, often retired)
  • They need help and aren’t getting it

I have had the honor and privilege of visiting and talking with staff of Senators and House Representatives from multiple states in the US – and one of the main conversations I have with them is asking why veterans, who need surgery, don’t have longer-lasting, non-narcotic, non-addictive pain medication options for their pain after surgery. Veterans are also pre-disposed to having addictions, mental health issues, etc. so why would the VA not offer and provide a medication that is not addictive to their patients?

While reading this article in the NYT yesterday I kept thinking:

These are the people you want to give opioids to – to help manage their pain?

As a nation, there needs to be better care and services offered to veterans. And while it doesn’t necessarily mean more money, it means higher quality services with the money allotted. As an example from the article, one veteran went to see a counselor and the counselor hadn’t even read their file! He was struggling with nightmares over the deal of his friends and her advice was:

He should treat it like a bad breakup with a girl.

High quality care, caring medical staff – isn’t this the least we can do?