Actual National Emergency: 15,600+ Active Duty and Retired U.S. Servicemembers Have Taken Their Own Lives Since Trump Took Office
Some numbers on a Monday. . .
Today marks the 759th day that Donald Trump has occupied the office of the presidency. 6,535 Tweets later, we now find ourselves in what the president has described as a “national emergency”, as he last week vowed to raid various military and governmental budgets in order to partially build a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that cannot be funded through Congress due to strong disapproval from Democrats as well as the majority of Americans.
Just 467 of those Tweets mention the word “border” in them, right on par with his use of the word “fake” which appears 448 times.
You can search for the term “Veterans” in his tweets since taking office and you’ll find exactly 40 instances and if you type in “VA” you’ll mostly just find him inflating his approVAl ratings or ranting about some phantom caraVAns coming to steal your jobs and kill your loved ones.
You’ll find exactly ZERO Tweets about “opioids”, zero about “suicide”, and zero again if searching for “cannabis”.
An average of 8.6 posts to the social media platform every single day since January 20th, 2017 and not once has the Twitterer-in-Chief thought to put out a 280-character belch about some actual, destructive national emergencies happening right now in America.
In a report released in the military news journal Stars & Stripes it was revealed that an average of 20.6 active duty military, reserves, and veterans take their own life every single day by way of suicide here in America.
The oft-cited stat of 22 each day is, fortunately, may not be totally accurate but the numbers are still way too high.
The law of averages tells us that just since Trump took office 759 days ago, well over 15,000 servicemembers, guardsmen, reservists, and vets have died as a result of suicide and yet that, for some reason, is not a national emergency in the eyes of this administration.
The trials and tribulations faced by our military members, overseas and back at home, can often lead to a lifetime of mental and physical disabilities which are all too often treated with harmful prescription drugs.
Active duty servicemembers and vets who reside in states that have passed progressive cannabis reform laws still cannot enjoy the same freedoms surrounding the plant that their friends, families, and neighbors do, for fear of losing their VA benefits if their self-medicating with cannabis were to be discovered by the brass at Veterans Affairs.
There are multiple pieces of cannabis and veteran-friendly legislation slowly churning their way through Congress right now that can potentially free the VA from its federal shackles when it comes to discussing and eventually prescribing medical marijuana to vets.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll find zero presidential tweets for either of those acts as they struggle to find bipartisan support among Trump’s most ardent supporters on Capitol Hill.
As we reported back in September of last year: “Almost the exact same scenario went down in 2016. Bipartisan bills were drafted in both the House and Senate that would allow VA doctors to write MMJ recs for their patients, but again due to differences in how they were written, the bills were sent to a conference committee for reconciliation. Instead, GOP power players killed both bills behind closed doors.
These dirtbags wrap themselves in the flag to talk shit about protestors and continually hide those shouts from behind some fake support for ‘the troops’. Then, when given opportunities to actually support those troops, they fold like a lawn chair every damn time.”
At that time, cannabis-friendly Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D- OR) sent out a Tweet of his own, stating, “Republican leadership continues to stymie much-needed progress. There must be a price to pay this November for denying veterans the care they need from the doctors they trust.”
Just over a month after that Tweet, the GOP paid that price dearly in the 2018 midterm elections with a massive turnover in Congress that installed a new Democratic majority and a new life for this neglected legislation.
Posttraumatic stress disorder is an incapacitating ailment experienced by many people following some form of life-threatening trauma. . . like military service.
From our own experience, and from the stories we hear all the time in the cannabis community, we already know that cannabis use can absolutely mute the frightening effects of PTSD.
We also know that cannabis can be an effective, natural, and far safer alternative to pain treatment than opioid-based pills which all too often become true gateway drugs toward harder and even more dangerous options like Fentanyl and heroin.
The CDC reports that 630,000 people died of drug overdoses between 1999 and 2016 and 66% of those involved at least one opioid based drug.
Zero of them were due to cannabis use.
Between 2001 and 2009 the percentage of veterans receiving pain management with prescription drugs jumped from 17% to 24%. The number of opioid prescriptions written by military docs more than quadrupled during that time period and 17.8% of vets suffering from PTSD have been prescribed opioids.
Veterans, on average, experience higher levels of chronic pain than their civilian counterparts.
Over 20% of veterans experience back pain
Roughly 16% experience joint pain
Over 25% experience migraine pain
Roughly 27% experience neck pain
Roughly 34% experience both back pain and sciatica
Roughly 37% experience jaw pain
A 2008 survey of 762 veterans who faced combat scenarios found that 64% of them were prescribed at least one opioid drug in the 12 months immediately following their return home.
In the Rose Garden of the White House last week, the President of the United States of America concluded his press conference with words that will no doubt live on to define his time in office.
“I didn’t need to do this,” Trump blurted out loud regarding his wholly fabricated national emergency, “but I’d rather do it much faster.”
Now, the opioid epidemic and the depressing amount of military suicides that our country is facing did not begin under Trump, but we know of an actual national emergency – one that would not cost the taxpayers billions of dollars to solve – that could certainly end under him if he could pull himself away from Twitter for a while to get some work done for our vets.
Interested in helping our military veterans who have been impacted by their service to our country?
CALL YOUR CONGRESSPERSON AND DEMAND CANNABIS REFORM FOR OUR VETS and please consider a donation to one of the veteran-run organizations below. They are all doing amazing work and deserve all the support we can give them - thank you in advance.