LACKAWANNA COUNTY -- State lawmakers are expected to soon approve the use of medical marijuana in liquid, pill, and oil form for patients, including those suffering from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dave Ragan of Lackawanna County now works on suicide prevention with veterans across our area, with the group Vocal Veterans, which helps prevent veteran suicides.
"They're killing themselves. It's not happening on the battlefield. It's happening at home,” he said from his Blakely home.
Ragan says if medical marijuana can help, he's all for it.
Ragan has struggled with PTSD after ten years in the National Guard and two deployments. He's had two failed marriages, lost a job, and twice tried to kill himself.
"One I had to learn to walk again and one I was on a ventilator and those suicide attempts were with VA prescription medications and basically what I would do, I would save them knowing there would come a time I would be wanting to hurt myself,” said Ragan.
State lawmakers are expected to soon OK medical marijuana for patients with just over a dozen conditions, including PTSD.
“I have never done a drug in my life. I probably smoked one cigarette in my life, but I can honestly tell you after being on certain medications and seeing the side effects of things. I would be willing to give that a shot for my own personal PTSD issues.”
Ragan's father agrees. If the medical marijuana helps veterans or anyone else with PTSD cope with their pain, it could be a good thing. He watched his son struggle with the disorder.
"It baffles you because that's my hero, you know? How's he doing this? How can you do that? Why?" said Edward Ragan.
David Ragan says he did not like being on the prescription drugs prescribed for his depression and PTSD.
Several states have approved medical marijuana use for PTSD. Although, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there have been no studies about the effect or safety of medical marijuana on an individual with the disorder.
"Anything that will assist in helping my brothers and sisters save themselves and have relief from PTSD, I most certainly support," said Ragan.
PTSD is not just a disorder veterans suffer from, anyone who has suffered emotional or physical trauma can be diagnosed with PTSD.
The Veteran’s Crisis Line for Vocal Veterans is 1-800-273-8255, press 1 or text 838255.