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Feb-12-2009 07:16printcomments

PTSD Suicides: The Army Can't Explain?

Dr. Phillip Leveque spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Pharmacologist, Forensic Toxicologist and Physician.

Soldier in Iraq
Image by Tim King

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - “In January, we lost more soldiers to suicide than to al-Qaida,” said Paul Rieckhoff, director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

I have followed newspaper articles like this for years because I had more than 400 PTSD Vets successfully treated with cannabis.

About one month ago I wrote an article in which I stated that the Vets suicide rate was about 1000 per day. I was pulled up sharply by an astute but acerbic reader who said I was wrong again. That’s why they have mats around spittoons! I accidentally put in the death rate for WWTwo Vets which IS about 1000 per day.

The suicide rate for PTSD Vets appears to be somewhere between 50 and 100 per month which is still a tragedy and an indictment of the VA system which even seems to admit there are about 300 thousand PTSD Vets out there, many not being cared for. Some are getting high doses of dangerous, addicting drugs like Oxycontin and Morphine. A slight overdose of those can be accidentally lethal.

Whether these overdoses are considered suicide is arguable. Many are given anti-depressants, lots of them. The adverse side effects of these are accidental or intentional suicide. How does one call them? Many of you have read that I am a Professional Toxicologist.

One of my observations over the years is that some people bet they can drink a bottle of booze and survive. Most lose the bet.

Alcoholism is rife among PTSD Vets. They are disgusted with the Oxycontin and anti-depressant pills handed out wholesale by the VA. Just a little more booze is a frequent option of these alcoholic vets. When the blood level goes up about 0.30 funerals frequently occur.

Nobody knows what the true rate of PTSD Vet suicide is or they are not publishing it. Too many Vets have seen three tours in Iraq/Afghanistan. The officers ordering the Infantry fighters seem little concerned that the PTSD and suicide rates go up drastically with repeated tours.

HOORAH for my fellow PTSD Vets!


Note: If you want to help make a real difference in veteran suicides, visit this link on a PTSD documentary that we are working on: Oregon PBS Will Air Documentary on PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
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More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier

If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.

Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on

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Marty Chilcutt February 14, 2009 10:31 am (Pacific time)

All I can say is, as a vet living with chronic PTSD for 50 years is living hell. Without my compassionate LCSW @ psychiatrist at the VA I would have been one of those suicides a long time ago. It NEVER ends. PTSD is burned into the neurons forever.

Skipper Osborne February 13, 2009 9:52 am (Pacific time)

Again I never received any Oxycontin from the Veterans Administration. I also suffer from PTSD. There are psychological, sociological, bilogical, loss of a job/a marriage/relationship breakup/a home/a divorce, and much more. Is there substance abuse or a disorder? What needs to be looked into is what probles/s is one trying to solve alone with limited professional resources? With the long tours/extended tours of duty to Iraq/Afghanistan, the true rate of PTSD Vet suicides will not be given out by the V.A.; because such numbers to be known will cost the V.A. big "$$$$'s" in disability claims--That is the final score!

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