CANNAHEALTH The Opioid Epidemic - Page 44

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There is nothing simple about seeking answers about suicide. It is a complex, layered and tragic reality that families and loved ones are left to cope with. We are prone to look back and seek some answer, some reason that it happened and could have been prevented. But we must also be committed to looking forward for the same reason. Sometimes there is hope in a new, alternative approach.

The dangers and risk of suicide seem no more apparent than in the veteran community right now. In 2014, over 7,400 veterans committed suicide. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that approximately 20 US veterans commit suicide every day. The numbers come from the most in depth study of its kind ever conducted by the Department.

We must be aware of the risk of falling into a narrative about soldiers that fits a stereotype rather than an accurate picture of the overall population. The danger of stereotyping many healthy, thriving veterans is real. But also real are the thousands of veterans suffering from chronic pain, post traumatic

stress disorder (PTSD) and other conditions that affect one’s quality of life and can lead to depression and hopelessness.

A study into the suicide risk of 1.3 million veterans who were on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan showed that soldiers faced a “41% to 61% higher risk of suicide relative to the US general population.” The risk was not found to be associated with deployment to the war zone and the risk was not higher with multiple deployments.

Advocacy

Veterans, Suicide

and Medical Marijuana

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