Military Resistance 8F1
Drugged To Death:
“These Are Healthy Young People Who Are
Dying In Their Sleep Because Some Physician Prescribed A Combination Of
Medications That Killed Them”
“The Spate Of Deaths Fuels Criticism That
The Military Medical Community Puts Too Much Emphasis On Pharmaceutical
“Many Of Those Drugs Have A Similar
Fundamental Effect On The Body, Slowing The Central Nervous System And
Increasing The Risk That A Patient’s Heart Or Breathing Will Stop During
“The Safest And Most Effective Treatment
Includes Various Forms Of Talk Therapy In Which Troops Forge Personal
Relationships With Counselors”
5.31.10 By Andrew Tilghman and Brendan
McGarry, Army Times [Excerpts]
At least 32 soldiers and Marines assigned to
their services’ most-supervised medical units for wounded troops have
died of accidental prescription drug overdoses since 2007.
The 30 soldiers and two Marines overdosed
while under the care of special Army Warrior Transition Units or the Marine
Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment, created three years ago to tightly focus care
and attention on troops suffering from severe physical and psychiatric problems
as a result of combat.
Most of the troops had been prescribed
“drug cocktails,” combinations of drugs including pain killers, sleeping
pills, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, interviews and records show. In
all cases, suicide was ruled out.
It is unclear how many troops
across the entire military have died from drug toxicity.
Pentagon officials have not
provided information about accidental drug deaths across the military despite a
Military Times Freedom of Information Act request submitted nearly two months
Data on military deaths is compiled by the
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and maintained at the Pentagon’s
Defense Manpower Data Center.
The Army deaths have shocked that service’s
medical community and prompted an internal review. But despite a “safety
standdown” in January 2009, the number of fatalities continued to rise
last year — to 15 in 2009, up from 11 the year before.
Meanwhile, the total number of soldiers
assigned to the 29 WTUs nationwide dropped from about 12,000 to about 9,000.
The internal review found the biggest risk
factor may be putting a soldier on numerous drugs simultaneously, a practice
known as polypharmacy.
According to an Army analysis from June
2009, about 9 percent of WTU patients — 800 soldiers — were
prescribed combinations of drugs including pain, psychiatric and sleep
As a result, the Army medical community began
questioning the practice of polypharmacy and has overhauled the way it
prescribes, distributes and monitors the riskiest drugs.
An Army Medical Command memo dated May 14,
2009, highlighted the risks: “Certain prescription medications, alone or
in combination, may cause adverse side effects that may prove lethal. These
high-risk medications include, but are not limited to, narcotic analgesics,
anxiolytics, and anti-seizure and insomnia medications.”
The military has a computer
system designed to warn doctors when individuals receive drugs that may cause
But doctors are able to easily
override the warning notification and allow patients to receive high-risk
combinations, military records show.
The details underlying each death are unique.
Army Sgt. Gerald Cassidy died in 2007 after
writing in his journal that he was unsure how much methadone he had taken, his
Army Warrant Officer 1 Judson Mount died in
April 2009 after trying a new, higher-dosage patch that releases the narcotic
painkiller fentanyl, his mother said.
And Spc. Franklin Barnett died in June 2009
shortly after spending a weekend with his wife and children and appearing to
be in good health, his wife said.
Unlike casualties in Iraq or Afghanistan, these
fatalities can be avoided through better management of the health care units,
said Col. (Dr.) Steven Swann, command surgeon for the Warrior Transition
During the past decade — for nearly all
of which the U.S. has been at war on two fronts — the military community
has seen a dramatic rise in the use of the types of medications linked to the
For example, the military
health care system’s prescription orders for painkillers nearly tripled,
while those for anti-seizure medications rose 68 percent, according to a recent
Military Times analysis of Defense Logistics Agency data.
Many of those drugs have a
similar fundamental effect on the body, slowing the central nervous system and
increasing the risk that a patient’s heart or breathing will stop during
The spate of deaths fuels
criticism that the military medical community — and the American medical
community at large — puts too much emphasis on pharmaceutical products
rather than other forms of treatment.
“There is a direct correlation in the
increase of use of these medications and these sudden deaths,” said Dr.
Bart Billings, a retired Army colonel and psychologist in San Diego who treats
troubled troops and has testified before Congress about the risks linked to
“These are healthy young
people who are dying in their sleep because some physician prescribed a
combination of medications that killed them.”
Many such drugs are tested and approved for
use individually, but research on combinations is limited.
“These medications were not tested in
combination with other medications,” Billings said. “They were
tested only on what they would do on their own.”
Billings believes the safest
and most effective treatment includes various forms of talk therapy in which
troops forge personal relationships with counselors while trying to identify,
understand and deal with their mental health problems.
well known: see the articles following, beginning with “CONFIRMED”. T]
An accidental drug overdose initially can be
confused with suicide.
After Sgt. Robert Nichols died
at the WTU at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in 2008, the Army Criminal Investigation
Command grilled his wife for possible evidence that his death was
“The CID guys were like, ‘Well,
you know, was there anything that was on his plate that was too much to
handle? Was there anything bothering
him?’ ” said Susan Nichols, who now lives in Dallas.
“You didn’t have to
be Albert Einstein to see where they were going with that. I thought, are you
really trying to suggest this? This
man? No.” Nichols, who deployed to Iraq in 2007 to a
base south of Baghdad, sustained a traumatic brain injury after a mortar round
landed near him, his wife said.
An investigation later concluded that Nichols’
death was an accident.
Medical records show he was taking a cocktail
of 11 drugs, including Percocet, Valium, the antidepressant Celexa, the
antipsychotic Seroquel, and Depakote, an anti-seizure drug used to treat major
depression and bipolar disorder, his wife said.
Some psychiatric medications in
the accidental overdoses come with warnings about increased risks for suicidal
thoughts and actions.
“The Enemy Could Not Kill Him, But Our Own
“They Still Haven’t Owned Up To It And
Said, ‘You Know What? We Killed
Your Husband,’” Said Susan Nichols, Widow Of Sgt. Robert
[Drugged To Death: Part 2]
5.31.10 By Andrew Tilghman, Army Times
Army Warrant Officer 1 Judson Mount was
taking several medications simultaneously while recovering from severe shrapnel
wounds at the Warrior Transition Unit in San Antonio.
The painkiller Tramadol and the
antidepressant Zoloft were a high-risk combination, medical experts say, and it
required close supervision.
But Mount was dead of an accidental drug
overdose in the WTU barracks for two days before anyone found the married
father of two.
The former enlisted tank commander who
deployed to Iraq twice was found, forgotten and alone, on April 7, 2009, in his
room next to several jars of pills. The
cause of death was an accidental overdose of Tramadol. The “contributory
effects” of the antidepressant “could not be excluded,”
according to the military autopsy report.
Whatever killed her son, Joyce Mount, a
63-year-old retired bank worker in Tennessee, does not blame the Army.
“It was a person — a pharmacist
or a doctor or something — not the Army,” said Mount, whose father
was a retired Air Force senior master sergeant. “The Army’s been
good to me. They’ve been good to all of us. They were here at the
funeral. But I feel like somewhere in the system, somebody has failed or messed
WO1 Mount was one of at least 32 service
members to die from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs while under
the care of what are supposed to be the military’s most highly supervised
medical units during the past three years.
Army Sgt. Franklin Barnett, a 29-year-old
combat engineer and father of three, also died while under the care of the WTU
in San Antonio. He was wounded by a car bomb in Iraq and received a Purple
Heart in October 2008.
His widow blamed his June 2009 death on
communications failures by Army doctors.
“If the doctors would talk to each
other, then they wouldn’t have a problem,” Diane Barnett said.
“He was on four different kinds of
medication that pretty much clashed with each other.”
Franklin Barnett was taking
“antidepressants and sleeping pills,” his wife said — adding
that he may not have taken his medications as prescribed.
“He was forgetful — he probably forgot
that he took his med and he took some more.”
Accidental drug overdoses in the Army WTUs
began to draw public attention nearly three years ago after the death of Sgt.
Gerald Cassidy, found dead in his barracks at Fort Knox, Ky,. in September
He died after taking a mix of drugs that
included several strong narcotic painkillers and Celexa, an antidepressant.
His military autopsy concluded that the drugs’
“combined synergistic” effects caused cardiac arrest.
Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., heard about the death
and, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, demanded an Army
“The enemy could not kill
him, but our own government did,” Bayh said in November 2007 during a
Then-Army Secretary Pete Geren called the
circumstances of Cassidy’s death “unacceptable,” and Army
leaders promised to investigate.
Some family members remain angry at the Army.
“They still haven’t
owned up to it and said, ‘You know what?
We killed your husband,’ ” said Susan Nichols, widow of Sgt.
Robert Nichols, 32, who died at the WTU in San Antonio.
Diagnosed with post-traumatic
stress disorder and suffering primarily from psychiatric problems, Robert
Nichols was taking a mix of 11 drugs that left him groggy and confused during
the last few weeks of his life.
They included Percocet, Valium, Celexa, the
antipsychotic Seroquel, and Depakote, an anti-seizure drug used to treat major
depression and bipolar disorder, Susan said.
“I blame those who
prescribed the pills and were watching over him,” she said. “They
should have been able to see the signs that something was wrong.” □
“Only One Treatment Method — Exposure
Therapy — Has Been Proven To Help PTSD In Studies By Objective
Previous Research Finding Confirmed By Atlanta
V.A. Test Program;
“81% Showing ‘Clinically Significant
Improvement,’ Which Was Still At 81 % Six Months Later”
July 28, 2008 By Kelly Kennedy, Army Times
Three new studies looking at combat stress
have found group exposure therapy seems to work, that troops with traumatic
brain injuries are more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder, and that
stress debriefings held after traumatic events don’t appear to prevent
The research comes as the Department of
Veterans Affairs works to find the best treatment methods for combat veterans.
It follows a report by Rand
Corp. that showed only one treatment method — exposure therapy —
has been proven to help PTSD in studies by objective researchers.
The first study looked at a program that had
been in place for four years at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. The center’s
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Clinical Team began researching group-based
Past studies have shown group
therapy to be ineffective on veterans with PTSD, but authors of this study,
published in the April issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, said the
amount of exposure therapy — 60 hours — in this group may be the
key to why it works.
First, nine to 11 people get to know each
other and talk about their experiences before they joined the military. Then, they spend several weeks talking about
their wartime experiences.
A total of 93 Vietnam veterans,
four Gulf War veterans, one Korean War veteran and two Iraq war veterans took
part in the study, with 81 percent showing “clinically significant
improvement,” which was still at 81 percent six months later.
And the study found something else: VA
clinicians indicated to researchers that they do not use exposure therapy out
of concern for possible increases in suicide ideation, hospitalizations and
dropout rates, but “we found the opposite to be true,” the study’s
Many patients said hearing
others’ traumatic experiences evoked painful recall of what had happened
to them, but “none reported any negative lasting effects, and many
indicated that this process helped them put their own experience into better
perspective,” the study said.
For example, one-third of the
group members said they had frozen under fire.
“Learning how common this was helped reduce the shame and guilt
that many patients had felt for decades,” researchers said.
SPECIAL 6E15: 5.24.08:
This Information Could Save Your Sanity, Or Your
If Somebody Tries To Drug You Or A Buddy Or Family
Member, The Fact The Information Below Appeared In Army Times Can Be A Powerful
Weapon Of Self-Defense
Because of the extreme
importance of this information to every member of the armed forces, for or
against the war, it is being reprinted again from a previous GI Special.
This news report below makes
clear that there is now new evidence based research about what works and what
doesn’t work for troops experiencing PTSD.
The credibility and importance
of this research -- initiated by the Department of Veterans Affairs – is
underlined by publication of the findings in Army Times, rather than appearing
on some obscure web site or other as somebody or other’s opinion.
The V.A. has long practiced
drugging troops with all kinds of very dangerous pills as a “treatment”
for PTSD. As this article documents,
that’s useless. And dangerous:
overdoses can kill. Benzodiazepines
[Valium & Librium are well known examples] are viscously addictive and
potentially deadly drugs handed out to troops like bags of popcorn.
As the article below reports,
the only effective treatment for PTSD so far is “exposure therapy;
reliving a traumatic experience by writing or talking about it.”
A lot of quacks, including at
V.A. facilities as well as privately, are hustling other bullshit phony
treatments, ranging from moving your eyeballs around to eating herbs and
Excuse a personal note, but I’ve
been working professionally with traumatic stress survivors for over 30 years,
both military and civilian, both at VA and private facilities, and can testify
that the research finding reported in this article is 100% right: the only
effective treatment for PTSD so far is “reliving a traumatic experience
by writing or talking about it.”
But you don’t have to
Here’s the report, from
Assuming you give a shit about
whether troops live or die, send it around, word for word, and be sure to
mention it comes from Army Times in case some idiot thinks you sucked it out of
important, if somebody in command or at the V.A. tries to drug you or a buddy
or family member, the fact this information appeared in Army Times can be a
powerful weapon of self-defense:
“Research Has Not Shown Serotonin Re-Uptake
Inhibitors, Such As Prozac, Zoloft Or Celexa, To Be Effective In Treating
“Exposure Therapy -- Reliving A Traumatic
Experience By Writing Or Talking About It -- Is The Only Therapy Proved
Effective By Independent Research”
April 14, 2008 By Kelly
Kennedy, Army Times [Excerpts]
“Problems related to getting troops
adequate mental health treatment cannot be resolved unless two issues —
stigma and access — are addressed,” Todd Bowers, director of
government affairs for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told the House
Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee on health on April 1.
Almost 59,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD by the Department of Veterans
Affairs. Army post-deployment health assessments have found that 20 percent of
active-duty and 40 percent of reserve-component troops had symptoms of PTSD,
and some experts say the real numbers could be much higher.
But because PTSD hasn’t been addressed
until fairly recently — the first scientific paper about the disorder in
veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War didn’t come out until five years
after that war ended — VA and Pentagon officials say much needs to be
done to determine good screening techniques and therapies.
“This is the first war where DoD and VA
recognized the psychological impact going in,” said Army Col. Charles
Hoge, chief of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Walter Reed Institute of
Combat vets are not sleeping, experience
startle reactions and are hyper-alert.
“All of these things that we label as
symptoms are things they need in combat,” Hoge said. “No sooner are
they transitioned back home than they’re right back in rotation.”
At the House hearing, Hoge said an Army
assessment last summer showed that the numbers of soldiers with PTSD is going
up with each deployment.
“There’s a direct connection
between mental health and multiple deployments,” he said, adding that
troops also need more time between deployments.
David Matcher, of the Institute
of Medicine’s Committee on Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder,
said a recent study found that research has not shown serotonin re-uptake
inhibitors, such as Prozac, Zoloft or Celexa, to be effective in treating PTSD.
Exposure therapy —
reliving a traumatic experience by writing or talking about it — is the
only therapy proved effective by independent research, he said.
Other treatments exist, but
they have been tested mainly by the same people who developed them.
That’s an important point
because the Defense Department and VA use several such methods, including group
and drug therapy, to treat combat veterans.
“What Was Noticeably Different Was - This
Time - ALL Accepted Traveling Soldier”
[Outreach To New York Army National Guard]
From: Alan S; Military Resistance
To: Military Resistance Newsletter
Sent: May 26, 2010
Subject: New York National Guard RR Station Outreach
- a bit different
Again Tuesday evening 5/25 found Army National
Guard Soldiers patrolling one of the main RR Stations here.
What was noticeably different was - this time
- ALL accepted Traveling Soldier newsletters (last 2 issues) instead of flatly
refusing them. A couple claimed
difficulty in terms of where to put the lit but folding them in four made their
pockets accommodate the publications easily.
[See below for more about Traveling Soldier.]
Two DVDs of "Sir! No Sir!" were
handed out plus one of "Querido Camilo." Naturally, cards were distributed as well.
One young private wanted to see my vet ID
because he wanted to be sure I was truthfully reporting naval service. He was doing his job.
Another knew of us from previous outreaches
and, as many do, mentioned the snacks.
It’s good to be remembered, isn’t
ACTION REPORTS WANTED:
An effective way to encourage
others to support members of the armed forces organizing to resist the Imperial
war is to report what you do.
If you’ve carried out
organized contact with troops on active duty, at base gates, airports, or
anywhere else, send a report in to Military Resistance for the Action
Same for contact with National
Guard and/or Reserve components.
They don’t have to be
long. Just clear, and direct action
reports about what work was done and how.
If there were favorable
responses, say so.
If there were unfavorable
responses or problems, don’t leave them out. Reporting what went wrong and/or got screwed
up is especially important, so that others may learn from you what to expect,
and how to avoid similar problems if possible.
If you are not planning or
engaging in outreach to the troops, you have nothing to report.
Do not make public any
information that could compromise the work.
Identifying information –
locations, personnel – will be omitted from the reports.
Whether you are serving in the
armed forces or not, do not identify members of the armed forces organizing to
stop the wars.
If accidentally included, that
information will not be published.
The sole exception: occasions
when a member of the armed services explicitly directs identifying information
be published in reporting on the action.
Traveling Soldier Is Published By The Military
CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
THE UNFAIR TREATMENT
OF SINGLE SOLDIERS:
Treats All Single Soldiers As If They Were Children”
By: SGT. I.T.A.
ARMY LIFE: STUPID IN
By Soldier R,
Traveling Soldier Correspondent
Telling the truth - about the occupations or
the criminals running the government in Washington - is the first reason for
Traveling Soldier. But we want to do
more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance to Imperial wars
inside the armed forces.
Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become
the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together.
We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within
the armed forces.
If you like what you’ve read, we hope
that you’ll join with us in building a network of active duty
MILITARY RESISTANCE TEN POINTS
1. The mission of Military Resistance is to
bring together in one organization members of the armed forces and civilians in
order to give aid and comfort to members of the armed forces who are organizing
to end the wars of empire in Afghanistan and Iraq. The long term objective is to assist in
eliminating all wars of empire by eliminating all empires.
2. Military Resistance does not advocate
individual disobedience to orders or desertion from the armed forces. The most effective resistance is organized by
members of the armed forces working together.
However, Military Resistance
respects and will assist in the defense of troops who see individual desertion
or refusal of orders as the only course of action open to them for reasons of
3. Military Resistance stands for the immediate,
unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and other occupation troops from Iraq and
Occupied nations have the right
to independence and the right to resist Imperial invasion and occupation by
force of arms.
4. Efforts to increase democratic rights in
every society, organization, movement, and within the armed forces itself will
receive encouragement and support.
Members of the armed forces,
whether those of the United States or any other nation, have the right and duty
to act against dictatorships commanding their services, and to assist civilian
movements against dictatorship.
This applies whether a
political dictatorship is imposed by force of arms or a political dictatorship
is imposed by those in command of the resources of society using their wealth
to purchase the political leadership.
5. Military Resistance uses organizational
This means control of the
organization by the membership, through elected delegates to any coordinating
bodies that may be formed, whether at local, regional, or national levels.
Any member may run for any job
in the organization. All persons elected
are subject to immediate recall, by majority vote of the membership.
Coordinating bodies report
their actions, decisions and votes to the membership who elected them, and may
be overruled by a majority of the membership.
6. It is not necessary for Military Resistance
to be in political agreement with other organizations in order to work together
towards specific common objectives.
It is productive for
organizations working together on common projects to discuss differences about
the best way forward for the movement.
Debate is necessary to arrive
at the best course of action.
7. It is a condition of membership that each
member prioritize and participate in organized action to reach out to active
duty armed forces, Reserve and/or National Guard units.
8. Military Resistance or individual members may
choose to support candidates for elective office who are for immediate
withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, but do not support a candidate opposed to
immediate, unconditional withdrawal.
9. Members may not be active duty or drilling
reserve commissioned officers, or employed in any capacity by any police or
intelligence agency, local, state, or national.
10. I understand and am in agreement with the
above statement. I pledge to defend my
brothers and sisters, and the democratic rights of the citizens of the United
States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
(Application taken by)
Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York,
Pissing And Moaning Don’t Cut It:
Join Military Resistance:
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