PRESCRIPTIONS FOR DEATH: New Investigation Reveals VA Continues Prescribing Drugs That Cause Suicides

PRESCRIPTIONS FOR DEATH: New Investigation Reveals VA Continues Prescribing Drugs That Cause Suicides

GAO report says VA prescription medication policies are out of control, suicide tracking efforts are dismal, and mental health programs are still inadequate to meet veterans need for care

by Chuck Goudie
ABC News Chicago, June 10, 2015

Click here for video report from ABC Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) — Two weeks after the I-Team questioned whether prescription cocktails were contributing to the sky-high number of veterans’ suicides, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs has been vilified about that in a government study.

The Government Accountability Office investigation found that the Veterans Administration is failing to follow its own guidelines in the treatment of veterans with mental illness who may be at risk of killing themselves. This conclusion comes as no surprise to the family of Cole Van Dorn, a marine veteran from suburban Chicago who was found dead in April.

At Arlington National Cemetery last month, Van Dorn was laid to rest even though the cause of his death still isn’t known. What Van Dorn’s father says is known is that the 29-year-old Marine sniper had been prescribed a cocktail of up to 20 antidepressants to deal with what haunted him from nine years of service and numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“If he wasn’t on all those medications, would he be alive today?” asked ABC7’s Chuck Goudie.

“I definitely believe so,” said Tom Van Dorn. “I don’t know how anyone could be put on a dozen to 20 to 14 meds at the same time and come out normal.”

Wednesday’s blistering report from the GAO indicates that Van Dorn’s case may be typical. In 26 of the 30 random veterans who were sampled, their mental health care deviated from the VA’s norm, and most were not properly assessed after their antidepressant meds began.

The report found that the VA has no system-wide process in place to assess veterans on antidepressants and that the VA’s suicide data is often incomplete and inaccurate, which inhibits suicide prevention efforts.

A congressional hearing Wednesday in Washington focused on prescription mismanagement and the risk of veteran suicide.

“This work illustrates once again a continuing pattern of non-compliance with its own policies and established procedures, unclear guidance, inaccurate data and poor oversight,” said Randall Williamson, GAO.

House Veterans Affairs Committee Member Mike Coffman of Colorado said the VA isn’t even aware of how many veterans currently have major depression or whether they are receiving proper care. VA officials told the committee hearing that the medication problem is complex and that the veteran suicide rate is unacceptable.

Click here to read the sworn congressional testimony of VA executive Carolyn Clancy.

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SUICIDE CONTEST: Study Reveals Game Among Army Commanders to See Who Could Abuse their Subordinates the Worst

Former Army Anthropologist Looking at Suicide Causes Found Numerous Cases of Army Leaders Who Held Competitions to See Who Could “Smoke” their Troops the Worst … and Push them the Brink of Suicide

by Daniel Zwerdling
National Public Radio, Feb. 6, 2014

*Editor’s Note – This story perhaps explains better than any so far in the reporting of military culture, and why so many young men and women would rather die than continue serving in the military. The “toxic leader” issue has been mostly ignored by reporters and experts examining the circumstances behind military suicide. This report is shocking, and in this writer’s opinion, reveals criminal behavior among Army leaders charged with the health and welfare of their subordinates.

http://www.npr.org/2014/01/06/259422776/army-takes-on-its-own-toxic-leaders

Read more articles about the Army’s “Toxic Leaders” and their soldiers who kill themselves to escape from them:

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20130715/NEWS01/307150020/-Toxic-leadership-rare-potent-trigger-Fort-Campbell-suicides

ANOTHER FORT MEADE SUICIDE?: Small Army Post in Maryland Mum on Airman Found Dead in Hotel Room

Fort Meade Airman Found Dead

Cause under investigation; name, location of death not released

by Matthew Hay Brown
The Baltimore Sun, June 28, 2013

An Air Force member who was based at Fort Meade has been found dead, officials said Friday.

The airman, whom officials did not name, was found Wednesday at a hotel.

The cause of death is under investigation.

The airman had been away from the Army base in Anne Arundel County on leave or temporary duty, officials said.

They did not release the location of the hotel.

Read this story at its source:

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-06-28/news/bs-md-70th-isr-wing-death-20130628_1_airman-fort-meade-70th-intelligence

Read more about the unusually high suicide rate at Fort Meade, Maryland:

https://themilitarysuicidereport.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/whats-happening-at-fort-meade-suicides-soar-despite-resiliency-training-colonel-says-numbers-are-alarming/