Laskowski Decision Cited in Freedom Magazine Article “War, on Drugs”

Freedom Magazine recently published an article focusing on veterans suffering from “Post‐Traumatic Stress Disorder”. “Veterans are often prescribed potentially lethal psychiatric drugs that are disproportionately associated with violence and suicide. Such prescriptions outstrip those for the civilian population fiftyfold and are thought to be linked to the harsh reality that one service member commits suicide every 65 minutes. Yet no one is held accountable for the travesty.”

The article cites MBK Law’s representation of Iraq war vet Stanley Laskowski. The $3.7 million verdict confirmed that the VA had repeatedly ignored clear signs of PTSD and failed to provide adequate treatment.

“In 2013, a federal judge in Pennsylvania awarded Iraq veteran Stanley Laskowski III and his wife nearly $4 million in damages after the court found the VA “provided inappropriate medication and failed to provide psychotherapy.” It is believed to be the first such verdict focused on issues surrounding highly controversial practices of heavily medicating veterans and troops. Given the Laskowski decision, critics of drug policies are hoping such cases will spark reexamination of those policies by the American military.

Daniel T. Brier of Scranton, Pennsylvania, lead attorney in the Laskowski suit, said he got an insider’s look at the VA’s drug practices during trial. Although the decision in that case only pertained to Laskowski, Brier thinks other veterans also will sue. “Overreliance on pharmacotherapy, including physician assistants prescribing addictive medications over the phone, together with no clinical treatment by a psychiatrist, violated the VA’s own clinical practice guidelines concerning the use of mental health drugs such as benzodiazepines,” Brier said of the Laskowski verdict. “A veterinarian shouldn’t change a dog’s medication over the phone,” he said. “Our veterans deserve better. I believe you’ll see more of these cases in the future.”

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