Amid Opioid Crisis, Congress Resists Calls to Grant Veterans Access to Medical Cannabis
- Among nearly 19 million U.S. military veterans, 8.9 million are enrolled in the VA health care system, the nation's largest integrated health care system.
- Chronic pain is pervasive among veterans, affecting more than half of their population; more than 1.2 million are treated with opioids.
- With widespread use, the number of veterans being treated for opioid addiction since 2010 has increased by 55%, to 66,000 patients.
- Despite increasing calls to allow veterans the use of cannabis as an alternative therapy, Congress remains resistant.
- A proposed amendment to allow VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients was denied by a House Rules Committee in late July.