Brown to discuss health care for veterans with lawmakers
Gulf War veteran and wounded warrior Curtis Brown is on a mission to help fellow veterans dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and opioid drug addiction and now needs help spreading his message in Washington, D.C.
The Richmond resident and author of “PTSD: Programmed To Self-Destruct” is scheduled to meet with lawmakers and participate in the National Prayer Breakfast during the first week of February, but he needs additional funding to make the trip.
“I have raised all of the funding except for the lodging,” he said, estimating the cost to be between $500-$700. That includes food and transportation in Washington.
He flies to Washington on Sunday, Feb. 4. The next morning he will meet with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Throughout his weeklong stay he will met with different members of Congress to discuss veterans issues, representatives of health insurance companies to discuss covering alternative medicines, and attend a session of Congress. A highlight of the trip will be participating in the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 8 as a guest of Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas.
To make a donation, visit Brown’s website at ptsdhopeawaits.org, click on either PTSD or Order and then click on the Donate button at the bottom of those pages.
In addition to needing funding for his trip, Brown is also raising funds for an opportunity to have a nationally syndicated radio program on Sunday evenings.
“IHEART radio 100.7 called me and discussed the possibility of my doing a Sunday evenings radio show,” he said. “The show would run from 4:30 – 5 p.m. This station is nationwide. This show would need to be funded and if I could get 100 people to donate $10 a month we could reach out to and help people nationwide.”
Brown’s desire to help fellow veterans stems from his own experience of being injured, misdiagnosed, and later becoming addicted to painkillers.
“This addiction was destroying my life,” he said.
Brown was an E4 in the Army and served during the Gulf War in 1990-91 with the First Cavalry. He received two bronze service stars for his service, but while in Iraq he was exposed to chemicals that made him sick. In August of 1991 he was injured in a training accident and medically discharged. For 18 years he suffered with chronic pain, PTSD and an addiction to the pain relievers, muscle relaxants and antidepressants the doctors at his Veteran’s Affairs hospital kept prescribing him.
“These psychotropic drugs put me in a Waco mental ward for a while,” he said.
After 12 years, he and his wife, Heather, realized that the source of his pain was a broken neck and spine he suffered in the training accident. He had three surgeries at the VA hospital in Shreveport, La., but they were botched and made things worse.
In 2010 he found a new doctor and again went under the knife.
“My neck is 98 percent titanium,” Brown said.
His neck and part of the lumbar region of his spine had collapsed.
“The VA just wanted to push more and more strong meds on me,” he said.
He said the drug problem isn’t limited to the VA. He said there is a national epidemic with doctors prescribing mind-altering and addictive drugs to treat anxiety, depression and other mental issues.
“Addiction is a prison,” he said.
It is Brown’s hope and prayer that his book, the potential radio program and his visit with lawmakers will have a positive impact on veterans and others like himself who suffer from treatable pain and addiction.
For more information, visit ptsdhopeawaits.org.