We have heard preaching from the Trump Administration recently about supporting our troops, and no one would argue that our wounded veterans, those who suffer from chronic pain and PTSD, are not the very first who deserve our support. Over the years, as our veterans have been prescribed opioids for their chronic pain, and as opioid abuse has reached epidemic levels, veterans have become twice as likely as non-veterans to die from accidental opioid overdose. Surely, focused on support for our military as it is, the Trump Administration is actively researching all possible opioid alternatives to address this epidemic impacting our wounded veterans, right?
Not even close. Even though an important recent study found a significant decline in opioid abuse and overdose hospitalizations in states that have legalized medicinal cannabis, President Trump’s Veterans’ Affairs Secretary refuses to conduct research into medicinal cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain and PTSD. This refusal has outraged Ranking Member Tim Walz on the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and rightly so. When he and members of his committee asked the Trump Administration why the Department would not pursue this research, Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Shulkin issued a dismissive and misleading response, one that seriously undermines the credibility of the Trump Administration’s preaching about support for our military. Despite overwhelming support for more research into medicinal cannabis from veterans themselves, the Trump Administration remains unwilling to give them the research support they deserve.