News for Colorado

GAO Reviewing VA’s Psychiatric Drug Practices At Congressman Coffman’s Request

Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman’s continuing concern about the overuse of psychiatric drugs in treating combat veterans has resulted in the Government Accountability Office agreeing to investigate the matter.

In a letter sent to the GAO, Coffman and New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster requested a review of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ mental health standards for treating veterans suffering from combat-related conditions, expressing concern that the VA’s heavy reliance on powerful psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs could be contributing to veteran suicides.

On September 27, the GAO agreed to do so and expects to complete the investigation in six months.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights has long advocated a full investigation of the link between veterans’ suicides and psychotropic drugs.

An average of 20 veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S., according to the VA.  This follows years of the increasing use of psychiatric drugs as mental health treatment for veterans and members of the military.

In the years 2005-2011, military prescriptions for psychiatric drugs increased more than 30 times faster than the civilian rate, despite nearly 50 warnings from international drug-regulatory agencies that psychotropic drugs can cause suicidal thoughts and actions.

In a statement released by his office, Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran himself, said: “This decision is a victory for combat veterans everywhere who are suffering from PTSD and who have been prescribed a cocktail of very powerful drugs to mask their symptoms in lieu of other forms of interactive therapy that work to bring down the stress levels of PTSD to a point where they are no longer debilitating.”

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.

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