Military lax in prescribing PTSD drugs, report says

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The ABC7 I-Team has a disturbing report concerning the thousands of our nation's soldiers and veterans suffering from PTSD. (WLS)

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
The ABC7 I-Team has a disturbing report concerning the thousands of our nation's soldiers and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

A new investigation reveals that the military isn't doing a very good job monitoring psychiatric drug programs used to treat PTSD.

On Tuesday, a government investigation confirmed what family members of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder say they've known for years: the military is careless when it comes to mixing prescription cocktails served to PTSD victims.

With 22 soldiers committing suicide each day - metro Chicago military men and women among them - the lax approach can be deadly.

"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," said Tom Van Dorn, the father of a Marine.

When the I-Team interviewed Van Dorn last May about his son, Cole, this government investigation was still in the works.

The GAO report found just what Van Dorn told us he already knew: soldiers and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, such as his son, were being treated with with a cocktail of medications with little or no thought or supervision.

"He mentioned this stew, this soup, and he told me he was told some of these anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, they told him many of them he could be on for the rest of his life," Van Dorn said.

In the case of Marine Staff Sergeant Cole Van Dorn, a Glenbard East graduate, his life on the PTSD prescription cocktail was short. On April 8, 2015, he was found dead in his home in southern California.

According to the autopsy report obtained by the I-Team, his bloodstream was full of pain killers and sleeping pills. The official cause of death was an accidental overdose of hydrocodone, one of the military's prescribed painkillers.

According to the new GAO look at how military doctors prescribe drugs to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and mild brain injury, there is inconsistency across the military branches. The Department of Defense doesn't track medication used in PTSD diagnoses.

The I-Team uncovered that the use of psychiatric meds for soldiers and veterans doubled in the past decade. Cole Van Dorn and his colleagues are among the statistics.

"They were all taking the same thing. 'Take this, take this, take this.' If you didn't do it you were bounced out," Van Dorn said.

Cole Van Dorn was buried at Arlington cemetery last May.

The GAO recommends that both defense officials and Veterans Affairs implement better controls and monitors for PTSD drug treatment. Both agencies have concurred in written statements attached to the report.

Related Topics:
healthveteranshealthI-TeamPTSDprescription drugs
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