A heartbreaking story about another life cut short is also an example of the devastating effects of overmedicating our veterans suffering with PTSD. Read below:
JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -
A Camp Lejeune Marine who was badly wounded in Afghanistan was found dead in his home this month, and his family and friends believe he died from complications with PTSD medications.
Cpl. Robert Richards was found dead in his Jacksonville home on Aug. 13. He was 28 years old.
Richards was a medically-retired combat Marine who suffered severe injuries when an improvised explosive device detonated, nearly severing his foot. He also suffered extensive shrapnel wounds to his throat.
Guy Womack was Richards' attorney and friend. Womack and Richards' family believe he died from complications with medications he was taking for PTSD and pain.
Womack said Richards' medications were changed only a day or two before he died.
"That's the only thing that I can think of that he would die of. He was too young to just die of natural causes because he was healthy other than all of the injuries that he had in Afghanistan," said Womack.
Joseph Flott is a doctor of pharmacy at Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital. He said the hospital uses an interconnected system with other pharmacies and doctors to better manage the medications of patients with PTSD and chronic pain.
"If a warning is severe enough, we'll go ahead and call the providers or the physicians and get clarity as to why they're writing that particular dose, or are they aware of this provider who may have written this medication over here that there's a drug-drug interaction," explained Flott.
Womack stressed that monitoring medications is the key to preventing complications or death.
"It's very important that they remain close to their physicians and that their certain medications that they're given are monitored carefully," said Womack.
Womack hopes that his friend is remembered for his heroism overseas.