In an attempt to combat the epidemic of suicides by veterans on psychiatric drugs and opioids, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO 6th district) has introduced legislation in Congress to review the link between prescription drugs and veterans’ suicides. Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO 2nd district) is a co-sponsor of the bill.
An average of 20 veterans a day committed suicide in 2014, the latest year for which data is available, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Veterans, who made up less than 9 percent of the U.S. adult population (ages 18+) in 2014, accounted for 18 percent of the adult suicides.
The Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act of 2017 (H.B. 2652), introduced May 25, calls for a thorough and independent review of all suicides, violent deaths, and accidental deaths during a five-year period among veterans who received treatment at a VA facility during the five years leading up to their deaths. The review would be done by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine under an agreement with the VA.
The bill calls for a review of all drugs identified in the toxicology testing of the decedents, with a separate listing of those drugs that also carried a black-box warning (required by the FDA to emphasize the serious or life-threatening risk of the drug), were prescribed for an off-label use, were psychotropic (mind-altering), and/or carried warnings of the risk of suicidal thoughts.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights has long advocated the investigation of the link between veterans’ suicides and psychiatric drugs.
Between 2005-2011, military prescriptions for psychiatric drugs increased nearly seven times (682%) – more than 30 times faster than the civilian rate. One in six American service members takes at least one psychiatric drug.
(To view “The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry’s Covert Agenda,” the Citizens Commission on Human Rights documentary detailing how psychiatry uses the military as its testing ground, click here and then click on “Military Documentary.”)
This is despite the nearly 50 international drug-regulatory agency warnings that psychiatric drugs can cause suicidal thoughts and actions.
Dr. Bart Billings, a retired Army psychologist who has treated thousands of veterans suffering from what is commonly called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has said that the surge of prescriptions since 2005 “coincides with the gradual increase, to this day, of suicides in the military. I feel there’s a direct relationship.”
House Bill 2562 is the counterpart to a bill of the same name introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 992) on May 1 by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and a companion bill to the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act (H.B. 4640) introduced in the House by Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) in 2016.
WARNING: Anyone wanting to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
If you or a veteran or other member of the military you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs or other mental-health treatment, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.