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Bill To Add PTSD To The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Moves Forward

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veterans ptsd marijuana oregon sb 281The Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee sent Senate Bill 281 to the Senate floor yesterday on a 3-2 vote. The bill was sent without any changes from the original language. Below is a fact sheet that was sent to me by the hardworking activists behind it:

SB 281 Adds PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.

#1 The Only Drugs currently used in the treatment of PTSD are Zoloft and Paxil, and they DON’T WORK

● Army policy does not address problems with other classes of prescription drugs, including antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, in the treatment of PTSD. Clinical studies, have shown these drugs to be no better for PTSD than placebos but far more dangerous in the treatment of PTSD.

#2 Medical Marijuana is the safer alternative medicine for those who have PTSD.

“PTSD is one of the largest problems facing veterans. For some it is a death sentence. Many will turn to substance abuse, cling to narcotic painkillers, alcohol, cocaine, or meth. Many will begin a lifelong downward spiral and never recover.” Jose Garaza, United States Combat Veteran suffering from PTSD, Medical Marijuana Patient

#3 Adding PTSD to Oregon’s state medical marijuana law will remove stigma from seeking treatment.

● The majority of service members with PTSD do not seek treatment because of the overshadowing stigma associated with seeking treatment for a condition they can be discharged for. Many who do seek treatment, drop out before they can benefit from a typically prolonged treatment program or find no relief using current treatment methods.

#4 Veteran’s are not the only group suffering from this debilitating condition.

● Victims of domestic violence, rape and assault, and others with traumatic injuries continue to suffer and seek alternative treatments than the current psychoactive pharmaceutical treatment modalities.

#5 The suicide rate among service members is the highest it has ever been.

“I have held friends as they died, and I am here today for five men who can’t be here. Two were suicides, they took ambien, which was prescribed by the V.A., and they drank, and they died. The other three, died in car accidents from drinking and driving. I started using medical marijuana after I almost committed suicide myself.” Jared Towsen, United States Army veteran, 8 years service, 164 missions, Portland Resident and Medical Marijuana Patient

● Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Oregonians ages 15-34, and the 8th leading cause of death among all Oregonians in 2010.

● Approximately 26 percent of suicides occurred among veterans. Significantly higher suicide rates were identified among male veterans ages 18-24, 35-44, and 45-54 when compared to non-veteran males.

● Firearms were the dominant mechanism of injury among men who died by suicide (62%).

● Approximately 70 percent of suicide victims had a diagnosed menta

“We say all say “I support the troops”. But we don’t really, do we? You don’t know or understand or even know how they can react so strongly when say, a car backfires. Or why they can’t go into a place with a lot of people like a grocery store. It’s because those things make us anxious, edgy, and hyper vigilant. It affects our ability to hold down a job, and function in society. We get angry, we get confused, we get scared. We have seen things no person should have to see. Friends torn in half, brothers dying in our arms. The fact is, you can feel safe when you walk down the street without worrying if the next car you pass is going to explode. It’s because of a veteran. You see the news, we live it…I am not a hippie, I am not a stoner, I am not a criminal. I am a United States Veteran and this is what saved my life.” Jose Garaza, United States Combat veteran suffering from PTSD, uses medical marijuana

“When we talk about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we may have differences of opinion. When we talk about supporting the troops who went to fight on our behalf, there is little difference. Democrat, Republican, prowar, antiwar, we all say that we support our troops. That we give them our thanks no matter what our political views may be. These people are coming home with severe debilitating conditions. They can’t feel familiar and comfortable around their families. They can’t hold jobs. They are antisocial, and often are violent for no reason. I will say to you, that anyone of us in that position, would do what they can to eliminate those symptoms…It’s just that simple.” Brian Michaels, Eugene Criminal Defense Attorney

“Special attention should be paid to a growing body of literature pointing at a role for marijuana in potentiating the extinction of traumatic memories.” Dr. Richard Staggenborg, M.D.

Sources

http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/InjuryFatalityData/Documents/NVDRS/Suicide%20in%20Oregon%202012%20report.pdf

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/3472

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Committees/SHH/201302071500/SB281/Details

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  • There’s a website, PTSDSTRESS.COM that has an anonymous
    interactive computer program that reduces the symptoms of PTSD for the user.
    Developed in part by an NIH PTSD researcher/ doctor, the site uses eye
    movement. It’s confidential, costs $10 per session and accepts credit cards but
    does not require a cardholder name adding further confidentiality. It has been
    used by military and non-military for over 4 years.