Here’s one way to respond to accusations that one of your party’s candidates body-slammed a reporter: Body-slam something else.
An email from Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman’s office this afternoon was titled, “Body-Slamming Veteran Suicide & Opioid Addiction.” It was an apparent reference to GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte, who faces a misdemeanor assault charge on accusations that he attacked a Guardian reporter yesterday, just before the special election in Montana.
Coffman’s email was about the Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act of 2017, a bill introduced by Republican and Democratic representatives, also including Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat.
The bill would require the Veterans Administration to review veteran suicides and overdoses over the last five years in search of links between opioid prescriptions and deaths. It would require the review to compile a comprehensive list of suicide, violent and accidental deaths among veterans, along with details of medications and other drugs, diagnoses of traumatic brain injury, PTSD and other conditions.
“The VA’s drug-centric culture is not only something we are looking to change, but also we seek to better understand this growing epidemic of opioid use,” Coffman, a U.S. Army veteran, said in a statement.
Military prescriptions of psychoactive drugs increased some 700 percent between 2005 and 2011, while U.S. Army suicide rates increased by 150 percent from 2001 to 2009, according to the Citizens Commision on Human Rights.
The bill is a counterpart to Sen. John McCain’s similar proposal in the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, we’ve asked Coffman’s office for comment on the Gianforte assault allegations.