Fascinating post by Katie Drummond over at Danger Room. Here’s an excerpt:
During his second deployment to Iraq in 2004, Sgt. Begin was evacuated to Maryland’s Bethesda Naval Hospital after enduring an IED attack that left him with a stump for a right arm. The years that followed were a haze of prescription drugs, arrests, overdoses and stints in several mental institutions.
“My life went downhill from the moment I came back from Iraq,” Begin, now a 31-year-old veteran, tells Danger Room. “Doctors at Bethesda had me on so much, and on such high doses of everything, that I didn’t even know what was a symptom and what was a side effect.”
At one point, Begin, diagnosed with PTSD shortly after coming home, was taking more than 100 pills a day. So many that he would stuff dozens of bottles into a backpack to lug everywhere he went. Now, he’s cut his dependency on prescriptions to zero. Their replacement? Five joints a day.
“Using marijuana balances me out,” he says. “It takes those peaks and valleys of PTSD and it softens them. It makes my life manageable.”
I’d recommend reading the entire thing. Given the fact that public opinion has become drastically more supportive of legalizing weed in the past 20 years, you’d think the idea might gain some currency (were you a truly idealistic person who believes that public opinion acutally shapes our legislation). But, as we all know, in the real world, pot won’t be legal until Pfizer and Merck get to sell it.