Local Veteran Wants to Replace PTSD Meds with Medical Marijuana
Signatures on a petition to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri are due at the capitol by Sunday and local efforts wrap up Thursday.
A local veteran is one of those making a case for it as he struggles with post traumatic stress disorder.
Vietnam veteran Dale Wark’s daily medication for ptsd is 18 pills.
He said, “I don’t want them, but I can’t get rid of them.”
Wark won’t use it until its legal but believes medical marijuana would be a better option. Wark said, “It lets you, in your mind, it lets you look at what you’ve done and what you’re doing, what has been done and lets you cope with it.”
Wark sought help for ptsd after striking his wife during a nightmare. The Veterans Administration facility gave him prescriptions.
He said, “Trying to get off of them is really hard. It’s easy to get on them but now you gotta try to pull yourself back.”
Dolores Halbin is a nurse touring the state for New Approach, the group behind a petition to change the Missouri constitution allowing medical marijuana. She says it’s the worst for veterans with what’s prescribed. “Anti- psychotic and psychiatric medications that they put them on one hundred percent of those have a side effect of suicide.”
Halbin’s husband died of cancer in hospice and opioid drugs brought bad side effects. She said, “Four days before he died, he had to get an enema because opioids are so constipating. That was just cruel.”
Mindy Miller, a clinical therapist adds, “I definitely have seen side effects that have come from other forms of medication and if this doesn’t have that why wouldn’t we try it.”
Miller said a devastating side effect of medications is serious weight gain. She said treating ptsd often includes medications. But more long lasting results come from therapy.
Miller said, “We’re able to show them these kind of things are going on with you. This is what happens with ptsd and at least give them insights to what’s going on with them.”
Wark has had some success with therapy.
He said, “I had shot somebody, that I, it bothered me. And for all these years I’ve had it back up here in my head. I don’t think about it anymore.”
While it got to the root of his anxiety he’s still on medications and believes medical marijuana could replace them and help with his glaucoma.
While some are on the streets trying to collect signatures a permanent petition is located at Body Accents on Main street in Joplin but May 5th is the deadline to get it signed and sent. The secretary of state’s office will receive the petitions from across the state on Sunday, May 8 th .
Joplin police say the department doesn’t take a stand on proposed legislation or petitions.
Previously the Jasper County sheriff argued marijuana is a stepping stone drug and legalizing medical marijuana would lead to making it all legal.