After flying helicopters in Vietnam for 30 months, Perry Parks couldn’t stop the panicked dreams.
“I was flying through wires all the time and I never hit the wire,” said Parks, 71, a retired military commander from Rockingham, N.C. “I’m a helicopter pilot, so wires scare the hell out of you.”
Parks, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, said he took sleeping pills for years after he retired. Then he found a more satisfying alternative: two or three bong hits at least three times a day.
“I don’t have the dreams anymore,” he said.
Faced with a skyrocketing suicide rate in their ranks, many of the nation’s veterans hope that marijuana will be their salve. Federal officials and veterans groups estimate that nearly 31 percent of Vietnam veterans and 20 percent of returning service members from Iraq and Afghanistan are grappling with PTSD.