As federal agencies actively recruit veterans, a new bill would allow government employees to legally get the treatment that is proving helpful for PTSD and pain management: marijuana
After losing his legs fighting with his Marine Corps unit in Afghanistan in 2010, Paul was put on a steady regimen of OxyContin, a potent, highly addictive and, back then, heavily prescribed opiate. After years of intense rehab — as soon as he was physically, mentally and emotionally strong enough — he weaned himself off a daily pharmaceutical cocktail (which also included Ambien, Methadone, Seroquel, etc.) in part by replacing those concentrated chemical compounds with consuming marijuana four to five times a week.
“For me, getting blown up again, I’d rather do that than have to go through the detox of getting off those opioids,” recounts Paul, who asked we not use his real name so he doesn’t get fired for candidly talking to Rolling Stone. “I just never wanted to touch an opioid again if I could avoid it, and that’s the reason that led me to pot.”
But Paul, like countless thousands of others like him in the federal workforce, faces a dilemma every day. He can either resort to popping the opioids he despises — the ones that gave him intense cold sweats and mind altering withdrawals — or risk losing his federal job for using marijuana. That’s because even federal workers in states where medical marijuana is legal can be fired for consuming marijuana, because it’s still illegal at the federal level.
“I don’t know if I could do my job and live my life as productively without it, so it’s not really a choice,” says Paul. “Either I run the risk of being fired, or I run the risk of not being able to sleep and being miserable and being in pain.”
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