BREAKTHROUGH FOR THE VETS
SPREAD THE WORD!
By: John LeBoutillier
Do you want to know what was—and still is—unbelievably sad? Incredibly wrong? And just plan un-American?
That at one time over 200,000 of our soldiers who had served in the Vietnam War and had come home were in prison—many for problems related either to PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)—once called ’combat fatigue’—or related addictions to drugs or alcohol.
Many of our troops during Vietnam had gotten hooked on drugs or booze just to cope with the agonies of that war or injuries sustained there. Then they came home and were often treated like ‘war criminals,’ as the New Left labeled them in those days.
And then, sure enough, when they ran into problems with the criminal justice system and an unforgiving pubic attitude toward their problems, they were thrown into jail as if they were apart of the criminal element.
This was—and remains—one of the most disgraceful examples of betrayal in American history.
Now, once again, we are faced with hundreds of thousands of returning veterans from multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with many of the same severe problems: brain injuries and severe concussions (from IEDs)—often mis or un-diagnosed—and PTSD and addictions to prescription and non-prescription drugs and alcohol.
These vets are now also running into trouble back home trying to re-adjust to life stateside.
Here is a typical example: a US Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq. He had been trained to never go anywhere in Baghdad without his firearm firmly in his holster. OK. He survives that Hell-hole over there and returns to his home in New York City, where he remains in the Army Reserve. He does not feel safe without that firearm still strapped to his belt; his Army training had kept him alive and he could not and would not abandon its lessons. Sure enough—without doing a thing—he is arrested under NYC’s very strict new gun laws. Mere possession of a hand-gun means an automatic one-to-three year prison sentence. And that heroic veteran was sent to state prison!
This is true!
And it is just plain wrong!
Are we going to repeat the mistakes of the Vietnam War Era? Are we going to turn our back on these wonderful men and women who risk life and limb for us?
This week in New York City there was an announcement that someday will be viewed as an epic turning point in the care of our returning veterans:
Three District Attorneys—from Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County—joined with the Chief Judge of New York State, Thomas Lippman, and the Veterans Administration and some generous private charities to announce the first-in-the-nation Veterans Mental Health Court Initiative.
This program will handle those cases which involve veterans who commit non-violent crimes and who should receive treatment for their mental illness rather than be incarcerated. This will be the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind in the nation, involving two urban counties (Brooklyn & Queens) and one suburban county (Nassau) with a combined population of 6 million persons.
The New York Times story can be found here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/nyreg ... 1&emc=eta1
...and the NEWSDAY story here:
http://www.newsday.com/news/printeditio ... 8679.story
The real impetus for this program is to avoid that indifference we showed the returning Viet Nam Vets. They became addicts in combat or from the addictive pain medication received for their wounds. And then when they used drugs, or sold drugs to feed their habits, rather than treat them we put them in prison, often for many years.
This Veterans Mental Health Court Initiative will be very, very popular around the nation when veterans and their families hear about it.
We need every District Attorney in every county and municipality in our nation to implement a similar program, with the appropriate training for the judges who will preside over these special courts.
All our vets out there need to prod their DAs to follow the example this week of these pioneering DAs in New York.
This week’s announcement here in New York City is a turning point in our history. We are changing from the disgraceful way we used to treat our vets into a smart, flexible system which adjusts to the realities of war.
Please spread the word far and wide!!!
"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Repellent Fact Sheet
CAROLINE COX / Journal of Pesticide Reform v.25, n.3, Fall 2005 17oct2005
http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/2005 ... ct2005.htm
Secretary Shinseki Moves to Simplify PTSD Compensation Rules
http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayRelea ... 942&EDATE=
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking steps to assist Veterans seeking compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
"The hidden wounds of war are being addressed vigorously and comprehensively by this administration as we move VA forward in its transformation to the 21st century," said Secretary Shinseki.
The VA is publishing a proposed regulation today in the Federal Register to make it easier for a Veteran to claim service connection for PTSD by reducing the evidence needed if the stressor claimed by a Veteran is related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted over the next 60 days. A final regulation will be published after consideration of all comments received.
Under the new rule, VA would not require corroboration of a stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity if a VA psychiatrist or psychologist confirms that the stressful experience recalled by a Veteran adequately supports a diagnosis of PTSD and the Veteran's symptoms are related to the claimed stressor.
Previously, claims adjudicators were required to corroborate that a non-combat Veteran actually experienced a stressor related to hostile military activity. This rule would simplify the development that is required for these cases.
PTSD is a recognized anxiety disorder that can follow seeing or experiencing an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury to which a person responds with intense fear, helplessness or horror, and is not uncommon in war.
Feelings of fear, confusion or anger often subside, but if the feelings don't go away or get worse, a Veteran may have PTSD.
VA is bolstering its mental health capacity to serve combat Veterans, adding thousands of new professionals to its rolls in the last four years. The Department also has established a suicide prevention helpline (1-800-273-TALK) and Web site available for online chat in the evenings at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/Veterans.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests