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tv   [untitled]    December 17, 2012 5:00pm-5:30pm EST

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there is already. so. it's common knowledge. when soldiers return from war the veterans administration helps many of them get back on their feet but a dark secret lies within the walls of the v.a. hospital in maryland will tell you about a culture of drug dealing that has reportedly taken over at the v.a. hospital has been talking about that a lot she said she said mommy i can't get that body out of my head i keep seeing as it's been three days since the connecticut school massacre shook this nation to its core and already we're starting to see and hear the urgent need for better gun
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control but how much can president obama actually do to create change the latest from newtown and the bigger implications this incident may have on the united states we want those friends down the street. it was time for the president was very jay carney talks transparency at a white house briefing designed claiming to be the most transparent administration in history there are more than a few dark spots on the president's record but also some light on the issue straight ahead. is monday december seventeenth five pm in washington d.c. my name is christine for you're watching our team. let's begin with a closer look at a shocking problem taking place inside the walls of the v.a. hospital veterans inside say drug abuse is so rampant that it's bringing people off the street to buy and sell drugs inside the hospital walls r.t.
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correspondent liz wall spoke to one of the veterans and brings us an inside look of a problem those in charge seem to be aware of but want to simply ignore. the department of veterans affairs administers health care to military veterans with an annual budget of over eighty seven billion dollars it's the largest department in the united states after the defense department at the v.a. medical center in washington d.c. it's no secret that if you want drugs you can get the. it's common knowledge this veteran doesn't want to show his identity was a drug dealing happens here on the second floor smoke deck outside the emergency room is another known hot spot for moment. just yet. but do you think some people come to the hospital to just to get drugs. of veterans
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across the country come here to get medical care but this medical center faces many obstacles with a budget of course to the limit doctors struggle to provide adequate health care meanwhile drug abuse here runs rampant. from alcohol to prescriptions to ealy gl drug addiction among that comes in many forms the institute of medicine is calling drug abuse in the u.s. military a public health crisis the recent study shows binge drinking rose to forty seven percent in two thousand and eight and eleven percent engage in drug abuse and these habits often come home with them when he came home he was never quite the same and he suffered greatly. his depression was intense and he eventually begin. to misuse alcohol and from there he began to use cocaine jasmine tyler lost her brother when he overdosed on cocaine on his thirty seventh birthday she says when he returned from serving in the gulf war he came back
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a different person she says the tragedy could have been prevented i certainly think that intensified services through the veterans administration could have helped them but they're just understaffed and underfunded and so the volume of soldiers who are returning really just experience a dearth of service opportunities and options available to the v.a. acknowledges there is room for improvement there's also a need for the system to adapt and to recognize what are the evidence based practices that we need to assure are going to be available some health experts recommend focusing on prevention and drug screening many believe that in-patient care is an effective in the long term. so. those services don't come cheap hospital rates per day range from one to five thousand dollars and it doesn't take long for those bills to add up and is that
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expensive service well not compared to the alternatives not compared and stage disease and also to those some of the repercussions in the community. coming back from combat many service members and veterans battle addiction it's another huge burden that veterans their families and the taxpayers must bear in washington liz wahl r t. well as you saw the institute of medicine is calling drug abuse among active duty members of the military a public health crisis it's fair to say the same can be said about many of our veterans as well dr charles o'brien is one of the authors of the study he's also the director of the center for studies and addiction university of pennsylvania and joins us now. hey there doctor i know that the u.s. military has a long history of alcohol and other drug abuse what is different now. well there's a difference in terms of the number of drugs different drugs being used the worst drug has always been alcohol and that goes back to the revolutionary war in the
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eighteenth century it's always been a problem and now we find that as problems with drugs become different in the civilian community they also are reflected in the military community. our review was through the national academy of science these days medicine and we didn't review the v.a. we reviewed the active duty military and we found that they had some very good programs but the level of substance abuse had gotten to be very severe and they were happy that we were there actually they were very receptive to our recommendations and some of their. policies are behind the time we've spent a lot of time on understanding and much research on the problem of addiction and medications for addiction we found that they weren't really being used in the military and the v.a. and the other hand v.a.
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has one of the best treatment programs in the world and they use all the most modern treatments and while i saw in your shorts there the video about. dealing drugs at the v.a. where i work at the philadelphia v.a. medical center as far as i know there's no drug trafficking very very little because it's it's a a well run program now and i have perhaps in washington some of the people from the street you know get on to the v.a. grounds. i think in general the v.a. programs are exemplary yeah and i don't think that the point of the whole story was to to say this is a nationwide problem but to point out that is going on here and sort of the way that this veteran spoke to our correspondent was well and just kind of talked very matter of fact we as at that it was going on and it was going on off and i think that your study is really interesting some of the numbers very hard hitting i'm wondering dr what you found most surprising. well what i was very
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not totally surprised by but i was. really concerned about is the amount of prescription opioids that are being abused and that means that people get started on the medications for pain and sometimes it leads to abuse and we need to do a lot more for treating and we have some very good medications and some very good treatment approaches but they weren't being totally utilized in the military the v.a. on the other hand when they get out of the military. uses all the best procedures the only problem that we haven't met our report called attention to was that some people who because of their drug use in the military failed to get an honorable discharge and then that makes them not eligible usually for v.a. care and we recommend that something be done in administratively to make all veterans eligible for treatment at the v.a.
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which is a really good program that's a really good point i recently spoke with the chairman of the veterans affairs committee republican congressman jeff miller and i think that you know the good news here is that this problem whether with active duty members or with veterans that is being talked about more than ever but i do want to have you listen quickly to what he said. we sure are right. here right now. we are back to certainly with that. wind just getting better. so this is congressman miller talking about the mental health problems and you know i think that there can be connections made in line drawn the line drawn between some of the drug use and the mental health issues but what he said is that there really isn't a v.a. uses great programs uses great technology and the best doctors but there isn't enough available. you know the resources there psychologists psychiatrists you know
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the right treatment what do you think about that i totally agree with that one of the coming so far. that is a study that became clear that very few of our medical schools are teaching medical students enough about addiction so i'm getting together a group of people from the national institute on drug abuse and the department of defense. to go to the american association of medical colleges and see if i can convince them that they need to. improve curriculum in the medical schools there are very few medical schools that do an adequate job of teaching medical students about addiction and so consequently. both in the military have a hard time finding professional physicians and cost to treat the
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number of people. interesting let me ask you i mean what you think should be done in addition i mean i think that's a really really good point teaching it in these medical schools. i guess outline for me dr brian some of the differences between sort of what we're seeing with you know active duty members in iraq and afghanistan versus during you know the time of vietnam i mean have. drugs change you know the opiates you mentioned. or are we seeing some patterns here now well actually i was in the u.s. navy during the vietnam war and believe me the drugs were different there there was a tremendous amount of care and would have. been given away free and there was a lot of alcohol. in this war we have more of a problem not with heroin as much as prescription opioids oxycontin and things like that that are very good medications but they can be abused and so we have to make sure that more prescribing physician understand how to look for the signs of these
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problems and how to program the way they prescribe medications. and i think you make a really good point that a lot of what we're seeing is sort of echoing what's going on really in the larger general population but you know as we here in washington there's a lot of discussion often about how to better care for our veterans and i think this is a really important thing to take a look at really is this public health crisis as you and your study calls it really good to have you on the show sharing your insights dr charles o'brien director of the study director of the center for studies in addiction at university of pennsylvania well as of this country today is still in shock that a stated over the deaths of twenty children and six adults murdered at a connecticut elementary school friday morning newtown has been described as a picturesque quiet new england town and there are no words to truly describe the horror of what happened or the sense of loss residents there are feeling now president obama spoke to the community yesterday evening in an attempt to try to
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bring the country together in this time of crisis we can't tolerate this anymore these tragedies muslims and to end them we must change. we will be told that the causes of such violence are complex and that is true. no single law no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society but that can't be an excuse for inaction surely we can do better than this if there's even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that's visited tucson and aurora and oak creek
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and newtown and communities from columbine to blacksburg before that. then surely we have an obligation to try hard to correspond on a saucer check and i traveled to sandy hook after news of the shooting happened she spent much of the weekend there and has more parents holding their kids a little tighter and a little longer these days oh gosh i'm so glad that i have so many opportunities to . your mind. you're in our family i'm so glad. you're here here i'm still so glad that i'm having breakfast with you this morning candles. flowers toys and grief have filled newtown i keep hearing on the news over and over about the parents that one parent or you
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pull to get their kids and those that had to be told that their kids were in college. and i can't imagine. if i was in their shoes as a parent that my daughter wouldn't pick up with twenty first graders none of them older than seven were killed in a mass shooting at school twenty year old adam lanza lived with his mother nancy in a well off residential neighborhood on friday morning he shot and killed her with her own gun got into a car drove about ten minutes to sandy hook elementary quoting two witnesses he didn't say a word during the rampage eight year old zachary was saved by his teacher my youngest son since sandy hook school and. he was in a classroom right near where the shooting took place and he was with a reading teacher just him in the reading teacher and she closed the door and took them into the bathroom they said bathroom floor until police came and said prayers
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and just stayed very quiet until the police came six school employees were also killed in the shooting including the favorite one of eight and then devon. in. the six and nine year olds held a garage sale with their family after surviving the shooting with proceeds going to their school they did tell them to close their eyes my my daughter. course she never listens so she she didn't and she's pretty she's been talking about that a lot she said she said mommy i can't get that body out of my head i keep seeing it people's emotions are stretched to the limit make it in here like make it worth something. because you can't create. change that heartbroken locals are now demanding. severe gun control. that's really all it can be a second amendment to bear arms but. that meant it was written three hundred years
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ago two hundred fifty years ago the forefathers never thought that it would come to this and while politicians don't have the power to bring back the twenty little children who used to play on these streets they do have the power to decide what happens next in a country where two hundred seventy million firearms almost one per person are in private possession. and if the teacher can r.t. newtown connecticut. at this point the suspected shooter twenty year old adam lanza appeared to have a motive he used weapons to break into the school shot helpless innocent children and their protectors as well he is believed to have shot and killed his mother first before taking what were her legally purchased guns to sandy hook elementary now the question of a mentally unstable young man having access to several guns has brought the discussion about guns and gun control to the forefront earlier today i brought on a stasi h.r. going to his report you just saw back into the discussion about this and about the time that she spent in connecticut. well christine you know to describe what's
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going on on the ground i think if we take all the sad words in the dictionary and combine them together there really is no way to describe no words to find to describe the heartbreak really the grief the sadness the tears that we saw on the ground this town is really at the epitome of grief during this holiday season you know it's just such a heartbreaking thing to see these you know houses with lights and people were in the mood to celebrate the holidays and then this happened and it's just brought everybody down to to a completely completely destroyed state of mind and people are you know not even beginning to pick up the pieces yet of course the funerals started today and the people we did speak to the locals there saying like you saw in that report we need to change this this has got to stop there have been way too many shootings in the united states there have been you know in u.s. history hundreds of shootings this is of course one of the most frightening ones because of the ages of these little kids who were targeted and ever since columbine
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we've already seen dozens of these shootings take place and people are saying when is enough enough how many deaths does it have to take how many families and children and parents have to suffer and they are saying that it's time to really for the politicians to pull themselves together and finally do something about this and honest as you we heard from the president who said you know one law cannot fix what's wrong but he did pledge action but what can really be done i mean what would have prevented friday's incident from happening. well you know of course all the people in connecticut and across the united states and probably the world are asking themselves that question but i'm afraid we might not really know the answer you know a very important point to bring up of course is you know connecticut is a very well off state really went through the economic crisis well you know just people are well off so why doesn't a state like this a mother with a son need to have three guns in her house it's not really clear to me and to many
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of the people that we've spoken to what was that the need you know people are saying if maybe this man this twenty year old man did not have access to his mother's guns that could have been something that might have prevented it but then again you know he could have found guns everywhere somewhere else and if this didn't happen on friday it would have happened on monday there really are no answers to that question i'm afraid i want to put up some numbers just to put in perspective some of this just statistics of guns i know you mentioned some in your report and this is not to take a side but just to kind of get some of those numbers out there the united states is the most heavily armed country in the world per capita there are an estimated two hundred seventy million guns in the hands of civilians in this country now the country with the second most is the yemen and last year the f.b.i. fielded nearly sixteen point five million queries from firearm sellers for background checks what do you think on offense you can really be gleaned from these numbers i mean the second place country after the u.s.
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is a distant second is yemen we're not seeing other western countries up there other countries with similar political systems is yemen. what's going on here. good question christi and you know considering almost every every american almost nine and nine guns for ten americans in this country i mean it just it's just really mind boggling why does the united states need to have so many guns in private possession because yemen of course you know it comes in second but there's a huge huge difference in the numbers between yemen and the united states and yemen is a conflict torn country there's poverty going on there the united states is a democratic nation where you know most places are safe so why all of these people need to have all of these guns why they have to be so available why the united states has to sort of over arm itself by you know hands and teeth and guns everywhere and there are so easily accessible you know people go to
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a pharmacy they need to provide prescriptions in the u.s. in many states you barely need anything to get to be able to lay your hands on a gun and it's it's just it's really just shocking and you know i think it's worth bringing up you know when nine eleven happened for example of course we've seen the crazy beefed up security right at airports and things like that but dozens and dozens and dozens of school shootings take place in this country and anybody can still walk into a school and commit this kind of this outrage why that is still the case is just really unclear yeah interesting too especially you know as the internet has grown there are now ways to get guns online of course of gun shows that you see advertised all over the place it does bring about certainly some interesting questions and these are questions that you know we're really focused on over the weekend especially in some of these big time shows so it was far is this question about the role of guns in our society sunday's meet the press was just one of many they had several stories about this now the executive producer betsy fisher martin
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tweeted this she said by the way we reached out to all thirty one pro-gun rights senators in congress to invite them to share their views on meet the press no takers so you know if these new laws are made at this point it's hard to know what the opposition would even look like why do you think ana sassiest so many people with very strong views on this subject usually wouldn't even show their faces. well uh this is really not a good time for anybody to come onto any t.v. network and start you know defending the possession of guns in the united states you know considering how much grief and sorrow people are experiencing i can kind of understand why these lawmakers would not show face on t.v. and try to defend this position because when something like this happens you know opinion shifts of course when it comes to children's lives and then you know defending the rights of people who want to possess guns and certainly you know something that's a very controversial topic right now and they don't raise this issue but you know
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christine we also have to remember that in this country more or less half of the population supports gun control and the country is split and half believes that it's a civil right and it's a right that americans are entitled to so whether or not any legislation good strong legislation can be passed to prevent these kinds of things is a question we're going to have to wait and see exactly what kind of steps lawmakers take and what the u.s. president takes but certainly i'm sure people are going to be demanding this kind of something to happen so that these situations are so they don't happen in the future over and over and over again. certainly this discussion is just beginning as far as what will be done about it i don't think anyone really knows right now are to correspondent honest in our studios in new york thanks so much for your reporting well today as bradley manning's twenty fifth birthday he spent the better part of his twenty's behind bars charged with leaking thousands of classified
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documents to the whistle blowing web site wiki leaks. there are horrific crimes outlined in these documents and also showing in this video of two apache helicopter pilots gunning down people on the ground below them now there is a lot we don't know about this case but from what we understand bradley manning a private first class army intelligence analyst thought he was reporting wrongdoing now he is a want to accuse of committing wrong this has been a common thread woven throughout history of blaming the messenger and then stifling discussion about the message over the last four years that tactics have included cutting off funding to wiki leaks keeping private manning not only behind bars but for the first ten months of his in-car carse aeration in solitary confinement even under the harsh u.s. military laws denying a soldier the ability to talk with others to go outside to wear clothes than i am a speedy trial all of these are illegal and we're pretty much on heard of until now
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also during the last four years president obama has used the espionage act to prosecute people more than all other presidents before him combined with phil on friday the spokesman for president obama press secretary jay carney was asked about transparency and here was that exchange one issue to work through. those things that. you know i was at that press briefing there were a couple audible laughs in the room and a few minutes later i followed up on the subject. thank you i want to go back to your own about transparency and yours coming to an end and really leaks founder julian assange is still in the ecuadorian embassy wanted to get your response to one of the reasons he hasn't returned to me in for questioning on several occasions is because here's the extract us where is the obama administration in the
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investigation assignment and what is your response to those who say you know julian assange bradley manning are examples of the president being anything but. entirely disagree in terms of investigations of that nature i would refer you to the department of justice. and that was all i got so as you can say there seems to be not a great effort on the part of the obama administration to talk about some of these issues especially regarding transparency when the issue was taken to the state department that spokesman p.j. crowley was more or less forced to resign after telling the university audience that the treatment of bradley manning was counterproductive and stupid so as far as transparency there still remains a huge gap in what's being said and what's being done to foster a more honest and open government. well tis the season of giving and for a while now if you wanted to give donations to wiki leaks it was pretty difficult all that might soon be changing yesterday
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a group of journalists and activists launched the freedom of press foundation its mission is to serve as a middleman to streamline donations to wiki leaks and other independent journalist journalistic organizations now it's no secret that wiki leaks has had a major issue securing funds ever since pressure from u.s. lawmakers prompted several companies like master card visa and pay pal to stop processing donations to the website the lack of funds eventually caused the site to suspend publication now the freedom of press foundation has named three other groups will also be supporting mock rock news the national security archive as well as the uptake all of which promote transparency is behind the group. well the list includes known whistleblower daniel ellsberg actor and activist john cusack civil liberties liberties column is growing wheat greenwald and the electronic frontier foundation trevor tim who will serve as the organization's executive director you might remember him from his appearances right here on r.t. to express disappointment to the huffington post at the lack of support many major
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media outlets gave wiki leaks stating quote if this happened to one of the other papers visa or mastercard didn't allow people to take a subscription to the wall street journal there would be an uproar the freedom of press foundation is also practicing what it preaches it's making its operating costs transparent to donors and letting those who donate decide exactly where their money goes we're going to keep you posted as this story develops well that is going to do it for us for now but for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r t america or check out our website r t dot com slash usa you can also follow me on twitter i'm at christine.


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