BILLINGS – Service members, both active duty and veterans, have a lot to deal with upon returning home. Many come back with chronic pain, PTSD and lasting injuries.
To cope, veterans are often prescribed a number of different medications, but in some cases, those medications end up causing more problems.
On Friday, Senator Steve Daines visited the Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic, where doctors have been working on a program to provide veterans with alternatives to medication.
Instead, the clinic uses methods like chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, massage and exercises to help alleviate chronic pain and ongoing pain from injury.
Currently, some chiropractic and acupuncture services are covered by the VA choice program, but they are still much more difficult to access than prescription drugs.
“They [need to] know they will have other choices besides just being prescribed medications and often times narcotics,” said Sen. Daines. “We can do better than that. Let’s give our veterans other choices here that will deal with the root cause of the pain versus putting a band-aid over the pain.”
George Blackard, a veteran who supports the program, said prescription narcotics are far too easy to obtain at the VA Clinic.
Some services are covered in part by the VA Choice program, but the Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic helps to cover the rest through fundraising.
So far, they have raised around $40,000 to help cover costs through the Paul Gardner Veterans Pain Relief Foundation.
Paul Gardner was a Montana veteran who died of an accidental drug overdose.