Military Veteran News Headlines for December 30th, 2016

VA Opioid Crisis Still Progresses –

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald stated that veterans are 10 times as likely to abuse opioids compared to the average American, and this epidemic has changed the lives of thousands of veterans nationwide.
According to a study by Castlight health Inc, 47% of opioid prescriptions are abused in Fayetteville, N.C.. Despite that figure, the VA health system there does not have a residential addiction treatment program, nor inpatient opioid detox facility. The closest inpatient facility is located in Salisbury, N.C. which is three hours away. Due to this fact, many veterans have turned to public and private health care providers.
Over the years, the VA has taken action to assist veterans with addiction and opioid dependency. Nationwide, the VA has been able to reduce the number of patients on painkillers by about a third since 2012. The VA is also working to increase capacity nationwide in treatment facilities. Secretary McDonald stated in a recent speech, “We owe it to the nation’s veterans to help them end their dependence on opioids.”
Source: Wall Street Journal

Military Considers Capital Punishment for First Time Since 1961 –

According to CNN, Judge J. Thomas Marten of the US District Court for the District of Kansas stated that the previous stay of execution for Ronald Gray, a death row inmate since 1988, is “no longer in effect,” and denies the request to prevent the military from carrying out the death sentence. Gray was convicted and condemned to death for the rape and murder of several women. In 2008, former President George W. Bush signed a warrant approving the execution, but federal court placed a hold on it last-minute. No service member can be put to death without confirmation from the President. There has yet to be a statement from Gray’s attorney on the recent development.
Source: CNN

Obama Issues Sanctions Against Russia for Election Hacking –

On Thursday, December 29, 2016, the Obama administration ordered to eject 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the US and sanctions on two of Russia’s intelligence services. This also includes four top officers of the military intelligence unit in the White house who are believed to have ordered the cyber attack on the Democratic National Committee and other organizations. The United States is expected to release the evidence linking the attacks to Russian intelligence. President-elect Donald Trump, who has doubted Russian involvement with the hacking, will have to decide whether or not to lift the sanctions once he takes office in January.
Source: New York Times