The New England Veteran's Alliance Is Using Cannabis As A Gateway Drug To Wellness

Tuesday, August 8th

To Derek Cloutier and Devin Tellier of New England Veterans Alliance, cannabis IS a gateway drug.  But as Devin says in this interview, "The gate swings the other way"  Both are veterans(Derek, Marines, Devin, Army) and have done tours of duty in Iraq.  Both came home with personal struggles from their experiences.  Both have used cannabis to help them fight addictions and personal demons.  Through NEVA they are helping other Vets and their families do the same. Check out the podcast above to hear more details about their mission and experiences.  

If you are a veteran or know one that needs help, please contact NEVA at 508-603-NEVA or go to

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

So we're here with a Derek cults here missing in their right including me including yours are they're clued here. And Devin tell your right arm from New England veterans alliance. Now. You know people may have seen you a conic con arcana con. Or maybe have run into you at the northeastern student campus. And I want to get you guys on because you do way more. Then just work with canvas. With a veterans I mean you do a lot more than that. And I on my main mission here's let people know that this is available to people who need it. And this is a really good program and so if you could explain New England veterans alliance of Yelp also obviously the canvas part of it but everything else you guys. Do toe so basically doing of actions alliances and advocating group of veterans that are in the community advocating for. Local veterans say fax system medical campus and also provide the most social enrichment activities gambling with the resources that they need com. A big part of what we've been doing has. And linking them to all the veterans that understand what they're going through or. Gaining. When you get on military eat transition from the military to civilian life. Go from active duty to possibility you don't really have the same friends used to you don't you you tend to isolate yourself. Suicide is a huge problem most veterans nowadays. And we're trying to eliminate that and also PTS the is another on topic for discussion which adds to suicide problem in itself. And would turn a Levy at that at any cost. When I first met you it was at the northeastern student canvas an open house night. And you guys were saying that the main reason. Like OBO it's it's a huge problem yet not just live with veterans that with everybody but you guys were there because you believed. That Khamis. Can help people with all due in addictions absolutely reviewed as I drove more than anything. Exactly high doses of canvas and especially all right so has been shown our armed. Medusa shown his friend. In a few case studies and a few says there's situations people have gotten. Awful lot and they have transitioned from the open or to the methadone and then off with a methadone. Completely with the use of these are these high concentrates or these are solos. So. It acts as a gateway. Off of the opiates not a gateway towards Il right. It's a door that is the whole the whole time they've been telling you the doors going one way is quite the opposite. And it goes almost pharmaceuticals is locally I mean we have people that are on. Anxiety men's depression adds. Flea medication. If people that take down all too much I don't like I just don't wanna take down I would much rather be able to eat a gummy. That is dose appropriately and then get some form of relief office and down. That's just been what we've been trying to get out in the community be a voice for veterans. We do a lot of house calls just going Nino put veterans and here with the story is and then we try to relate that later when their might be a state knows. Chance to testify at a Statehouse here and there are through New England we've done that multiple ones com New Hampshire Maine on mass. Heard Ireland and to add peach yes the as a qualifying conditioning chronic pain home grow is another. Huge thing that's beneficial to veterans because if you can grow your own medicine and then turning into a medicine that you actually need. There's nothing more beneficial than not and that's been. One of the biggest things that we've been. Being from veterans community coming out of they'll wanna get off for the opiates wanna get off pharmaceuticals and decreases dependency on. So. If if there's of that out there. They're addicted to opiates of some sort. They finally decide I need help. And they come to you guys what's the first thing you guys do. This. New link them up without proper management talked to them about it. Give them run around on what they don't know what they do you know. Com lake I always start out the conversation with a I'm not a medical professional I can't guarantee that this is gonna work for you buddy and it has worked for me and has worked for others. Are so so Derek lump largest real quick obviously you were addicted to OP humans know. I wasn't an awful on opiates and anyway I was on SS our eyes things fighting mad and I had more. More issues with alcohol and I did with. Opiates and whatnot but from the experiences that we have been right. Other veterans that we talked to that's what I've seen them and so they big and such are the guys through the website they call you know and then you you counsel them. To find out what their needs are. As a group and then what are your resources after that will reach out to the local doctors and the community the local. Usually audience Jadox little wink a put them get them situated with their card make them. Legally accepting of candidates from out of state then most of them are actually. Worried about their gun rights when it comes to candidates right a lot of my children are hesitant to do. Or even their children Malia to autumn think that the children get taken away. That's not because they're using 'cause they're using campus and I could deal with it as an agreement itself. That statement alone is a huge amounts aren't any patient because. If your kid goes to school and talks about canvas with other people without them knowing your teacher we use it they can make a phone call you know you never know what's gonna happen. Whereas I teaches. Demise I don't teach it to my son but I. It's out there it's open he doesn't I don't hide it from him because when I noticed when in the beginning when I was high net from him he was. Very hesitant to. He's always looking around the corner very suspicious what does that what does this move them. Now I just explained to me it's for adults it's not for children. A lot like you would for alcohol and anyway. And duchess this is in this part of the fridge like any medicine absolutely yeah this is in this legally do treatment like that. To plus it helps you which really in the long and helps them yet in any notices it I mean right now my Sunday is old. And I'm pretty surely he can articulate to. Full grown adult. On how can this can help someone better than most adults could say it because. He's just around so prominently on the always talking about it anomalies educating people about it. Com but I also just. Teacher and that it is in Madison and helps me and that's wish they missed dot com. Teaching the youth in educating them properly not telling that it's a Gately drought not telling them that it's gonna lead to frying their brain. Whereas it's proven. To show cognitive brain function com is a study right now I believe doctor Staci Gruber has been doing it. With veterans for the last few months and she's seeing positive results out of Harvard University or. It was McLean Hospital I believe she's doing and out of and she seemed pretty. Significant results that is helping I'm Nam. It's it's definitely something that needs to be. More help them more normalized we trying to talk about it either voice in the community saying that we are productive month members of society. You know I. I smoked a joint report in India I I can completely articulated anything I want I'm not high like I don't. I don't get high it's just doesn't happen like that in Milan peel don't understand that. And a lot of people think that there's a lot more damaging right. Now because of the stigma over the years. The war on drugs. Wave before that you know when they when prohibition of Canada started. Now. In at least here Massachusetts now that it's been legalized. Recreational. Is it any easier to get past those the statements are people like more willing to come to you or Orman more willing to help you. Aren't worth exactly were finding more people. Are are open are open to education. They're hoping is to see like they they're they're getting their little tidbits again those soundbites from whatever resource there in their listening to. And now that that's turn the wheels of curiosity than they reach out to us. For further information. They wanna know this sunlight though you know more about. Working with top supposed to relieve painful or. Arthritis so we can. Have have educated conversation on how. To double benefit there benefit their bra on their needs. And then once we come to a conclusion then what will help the veteran move forward with a obtaining his reputation. In the older generation has been huge. Demographic that has come out. Questioning. All the old stigma is in negative influences. And now there. They're more on. Open to trying topical like he said. CBD and you work them on from there and they feel more comfortable knowing that right they're knock him out. Trip boat and go in right. Boston it's it's like any medicine it's different for every single person every single person's body processes thinks differently. The other getting past. The stigma that's the huge thing because it on your logo. You have a partly you know on and I know people see that be like whatever you know you're teach in chunks donor or whatever like at that and they've got to get past that and accepted as a medicine. You know that's I think that's the probably it's the biggest challenge I think and and probably for you guys dealing with with the veterans. There's a huge stigma which I mean the statement is our biggest problem in the in society I think. When we first started oh about two years ago we had done the Boston owner of that ride and that's a pretty. It's mostly more cyclists bikers and their open to canvas the pro eighteen in multiple times but just being there set up. Having a Booth there are educating people they weren't very open to Al lot of people believe it or not we're like who play. They've come umbilical it's for veterans and then he seconds later they would just turn around like okay no thanks but they it is they wouldn't be open to hearing about it they just. No I'm good thank you and they just keep going so it's it's something that's still out there and people don't realize that. Mean I don't know it's it's great TV well you know many people and it's it's for a plan. For people like you guys from people you know like me who wore you know. Been consuming candidacy in some ways since I was like thirteen years old. You know over the years you learn you know what your body does and what can do and stuff like that but now that it's legal and it's becoming mainstream. It's I think it's it's not gonna happen overnight now you know this is definitely there's going to be a painful. Growing process. No pun intended there you know but just just to get people to accept it like they would accept a beer. Four or some kind of fell. You know and I don't want I don't wanna does the pharmaceutical industry to sometimes that stuff works for people but it's the same thing here. Do you want to get their heads are on canvas it's not gonna work for everybody. You know the wave that you know you're like pills don't work for everybody the same things of that and think it's just the matter of making all those things equal Lou the pharmaceuticals the alcohol. You know campus. You know but in canvases case where dogs of the that's way more natural that you can grow in your own home. You know you don't have to have with pesticides. Or anything like that. And like you're saying I it's there's a lot of home growing right now and without. Regulation now to scheduling yeah. There's going to be no over there's going to be no oversight. Right now if say you're growing our great crop and your very proud of what you're doing but you're not. You know experienced as a grower that you're not using the right things as you read the wrong blog. That happens comment that information is out there. You pass on medication after somebody and for some reason you used a pesticide or using Miracle-Gro and your putting heavy metals into in two person that has. Integrated and immune system do their chemo or whatever treatment they're going through. You're not doing you're you're you're doing harm not help or so without. You scheduling at. And allowing these big laboratories to start doing more instant extensive research to make a baseline. Lexus ES standard exactly SpinRite Agassi started the baseline result is okay we've tested this. This is where it should view on this area additionally no it wasn't so many PP down's of this kind of heavy metals or are there should be no more than these kinds of PPMs of these kinds of fungicides pesticides or any other stuff. OK so let's get back to the vet who's seeking help from you guys are right so you referred him. So the medical professionals and we've got to that point and then what else what other resource is what other kind of helped you guys offer. Veterans and as it is it exclusively. Veterans who are addicted to OBO it's no no money is is just the alternate and oh yeah now we're. Basically going to we're trying to obtain Arafat once he nineteenth that's which would be a war veterans specific but we're also. Determine on what we're able to do. We still implementing those programs and everything right now it's it's a lot of Kean bill and what we're trying to accomplish its been out. A year to two years of building this organization trying to see where the direct need is and not so once we. Get them linked up to the proper doctors to give them the proper information. Com we connect and to local caregivers or dispensaries or. Wherever they are we would link them to the problem Mets that they are they need and then on top of that. Try to continually educate them get them went up but other veterans and then we we also do the social return activities which is just get a mile hiking gay. Keeping them busy gas so it looks giving I don't purposes yeah really I have art ever sect so one of the things you guys go on hikes. And I hot and how did that start like why why did you organized hikes specifically really just to get people out of their houses it was the most simple basic thing that we can do whereas. Where starting out we don't have a lot of money com. You don't need money to go hunting and a get fresh air and right I mean you walk out in the woods and smoke is much causing Wong won't be arrest. Yeah doubtless it's it's it's it's quiet nursery in Seattle getting exercise you're still getting out days bill and you're with other veteran socialism it's worth. You with people who know you're gone we're by the birds and much of veterans coffin a talk show after you hit it awesome. And so what other events do you guys do come brings the brings the veterans together. We hold. Monthly meet ups in and right now we do. Do we do one in Maine on the third Saturday of the month at home grown health care main. And we do another one the last Tuesday amount down at the tetra logical and Rhode Island which is also free comedy show for veterans it's a comedy show that we allow. Veterans that come to free of charge Tom it's ten goals for anybody else donation and you have to have a medical marijuana card to get into the though the club. But it's somewhere where we also have vendors in and K here resided there. They give Mets to patients if they need him they offer significant discounts the a lot of people like that you and rose to a off here are so to topples all of pomp. You have bomb. Doctors from. People like on medical Candace consultants that are on that Kamal and you presentations on opiates how to get off will be its how to use it how canvas can be beneficial to. Com it's really just. Being out there trying to stay in contact with all these vets and giving them a purpose to get out there house and not include himself and know that. A lot of them have. It takes them up with like six months just to get out there house unless I go to their house and meet with them personally. Or a few of us will just get up and although Harry will have lunch with this that and then. Once they we build a friendship and talk to them they stuck feel more comfortable they make it a tour events they get out there and Nikki you know there are the biggest advocates for. Reward Amal though what we've been able to do because we've got them on that house on that slow seclusion in a so men. Making sure that they know that there are they're not along now and middle there there's a there's a bunch of ways that they can get help. That's like so that's a constant reinforcement. With the people you're doing that again amount Denham exercise fresh air and just meeting all the veterans and knows the biggest thing that we are able to do is. Where veterans were under so I know all I was under censors until they just cut my benefits recently. But we have mostly all service connected veterans that understand what each other out are going through and dom. That's the easiest way to. When we get of that in the room and you just hang an outspoken and joking in and things just got to gradually come up out of out of nowhere like that you would normally be talking about that a very therapeutic. From his service fear life experiences then he just not talking about everything and anything in. You haven't a good time while you're doing it and it just you let down all those. Negative feelings negative thoughts and you just you're able to relax and an associate with people on the failure don't put. We talk about you lose your service. And and sold them all star review so. Fuji serve with where did you serve. I was with the army National Guard who served with a 772 Canton Massachusetts and I also deployed with 24 from the Puerto Rico. Baghdad from 607 and we deployed Tim brought us governor mark. With the 772 from 2000 on desert 2010. And then what was your experience after he came home. I was medically discharged at my injuries I sustained my vehicle was struck with a roadside bomb. Luckily everybody walked away so can't complain too much. So. After that I was didn't. I didn't unable to continue Warner as you know fighting force. So if I'm bored me. Wasn't really happy about that. I know a lot of anger involved with the being. Pushed out of the army when I wasn't really willing to leave. But. Drank a lot I don't know our problems and up going to jail for all of that. Then I am getting into the canvas. Stuff heavily for an I was on probation and provision told me that. The only way I can use canvas and was and a prescription. So luckily Massachusetts has just passed the law by months prior. Went down there got a prescription went right into the right to my you know probation officer and animal they've worked it from write down and talk to the judge in. Judge had no problem that while so from there on out I just start sticking with a advocating for. And how did you hook up with the the New England veterans alliance. Disarm post on our through one threat or another about two and a half years ago. That there are going to be devastated I was side advocating for. PT EST. Well you wanted to OPO dependency. And I'm a few other. A few other. Diagnosis is that really affect the the veteran community. So why you not afford them and they go from their present. And Derek you know he described your service where he served. Serve with. I'd join no Marine Corps in 2004. I was swift though first the 225 Marines are here out of Massachusetts not afford to Evans on my you know actually was alpha company out of pops on Maine and we. Were activated to Iraq in December. Of 2005. On and I was in Ira in Fallujah Iraq in march of 2006. Com. I did one tour. Normal. You know IDs potshots. Corn searches knocks on regular stuff and then pomp common home. You gonna jobless department of corrections and an up work in there for a few years. Which isn't the best job in the world of fear that with Pete used the in you know a lot of people that just don't like in this right now on so it was a really hard thing the east view and my biggest Promos and even the people that there goes smallest the administration. Because they weren't really that military mindset and a lot of ways and Nam I ended up Kenneth some issues and yeah and into trouble as well and I was drinking a lot of those lawn on a lot of those SSR as the anti depressants in mixing those little call wasn't really job alone Meehan. We're beginning to fight thing get into trouble I ended up interested down in Tennessee for taken a homeless guy to breakfast and a lawful votes and up crappy on me by a bunch of golf down there in what we were too. No streets of almost got a breakfast yet. Little pair so there's a note Tennessee if you there's no actual crime that's a crime in Tennessee Lewis and almost got from a north that is. Cities yet it was pretty crazy egg throwing on earth or plot characters so that's insane they overheard my accent and they came and checked. To see what was going on again out trembling and talked and saying things like and into tomorrow. And they asked me stand up by lap and I says and now you know not doing that and laughing and Noah black though I was outside the crap yeah me. And they expunge that whole thing that whole situation kind of avenue go to rehab for thirty days in Florida. And Nam. Which was. Pretty defining point in my life on a lot of aspects between. Sir relation without having in my life with certain friends in that trains to. Just not just getting away from alcohol and itself because that was. Some doubters drink to get blackout and now just go pick a fight for people walking around straighten him mass beat but it wouldn't it wouldn't matter you know like. There's just some I'd just like the adrenaline just. I disliked yen in the fight alike and into confrontations news there was something that when I was trumka get emotional. Well you emotionally and mad and out whereas now. I've had someone suggest Candace few years back both five years or so. And ever since I've been used in that I've been able to sleep I've been able to relax a mini vehicle to my hyper vigilance is spend. You know on the side a lot Nam pitches it's it's tell me gain a lot of things I've prime when. Be doing a pro winning be thin here now is because I and that's including myself a lot of times as well and have the time a lot of things are social media area cius. Promoting trying to be motivating to a lot of people in a lot of ways that's me motivating myself remind myself to do a lot of things but at the same time I know that's gonna motivate. A lot of although veterans as well just because our experience is a similar. So I had some issue with that now work and then calm my friend suggests that restart. Doing their thing get involved I thought to bring in. That's together five at a time taken to a doctor's office and get together and we you just went through the wringer of what Candace can do and how can help and dom. Got them certified and that's and we just are getting together having you dumps and that turned into meetings the meetings turn into comedy shows and and now we're going to convention's going on high times are Candace on magazine. Panels for veterans panels in Vegas through their recently it's just. I've never thought in my life I'd be doing what I'm doing I'm going to places I'm going just because the candidates and it's brought me out of my house and under trying to make sure that we can do that for all of that and get them potent. May make them their life a little bit more normal. You know deep do you think that because canvas is still a schedule one substance. That this is. Really and having a lot of people from getting now that they need absolutely yeah. Yet little 100%. Could amber who's like two weeks ago I think the there was an article I think was only flee the VA was saying. It might be a good idea. Or so or the head of the VA was saying it might be a good idea if we could try to use can. Had a senate bill that was. I believe they voted 24 seven our total proved it was a reference access though yes now last year a lot of people got excited about this year because they. It was feeling you left I think that because Candace is becoming more mainstream it's something that people want. They think it's old as the next thing Viet vets are gonna get access but the reality at the same thing happened last year went all the way up and then they took it out in the late night session. And com. That was really only so that VA doctors could write recommendations for that's not even get us medicine. And now I think is only still an amendment that they're allowed to. Recommend it. Verbally not write you an actual recommendation so he can get your card they can talk about in my doctor talks with me about it they work with me on it com. He's even suggested medications that like I could go on. That work well with it because this mission medication could make you variable. But where you have renovate it it might you know level you a little bit so Mecca how they are working with me and could not help with. Addiction like say you've you've you've you've suffered an injury you have to take you know doing that but maybe if you took the last. And combined it with Canada us exactly give us is not a cure all there is also therapy than music go long which treatment. There's also a real serious medications and they go forward with a whatever surgery or. Incidentally you would they may you may be going through. As much as I like to say canvas is is there cure all of everything there's there's a law he's still got it taken apart with the modern medicine. Ryan then all of research that hasn't even mend onion in it because of the schedule one that's another prominent felt. Doctors don't just doctors in general don't want talk about right because they don't lose your license or get in trouble and. There we just a matter earlier with regulating pesticides and things like and a well guys I really appreciate you coming into the studio here and talking about noon on veterans alliance say there's someone listening to us right now. They want to reach out how can they do that. So best way to reach out is to email us or call us email is info at neatly usaid dot org. Our phone number is 501. Are our 508. 603 neither. Com. And that's really the best way and we'll be post in most of our events up on our web site. We're gonna be redoing the whole website as it was more one of those quick space via. While tonight as well as I am in as you know as a lot of it on there and it's it's me it's been some that we've. We've been just working with what we have right on with timely we don't make any commission often in this we don't. Get paid for any thing else that thing that we just put like you guys are making money on us this is something you're usually we get into a good amount of support from the community. That donates. From time to time and then we. Then take that read give that back to veterans out monthly meetings and we have a membership actually that we sign people up and you can be a wartime veteran peacetime or legacy. Which is us. Husband wife or son or daughter of veteran. Also okay so that's RO NS about too because I saw that. That and he'd like gold star families and we also off circles and went right so you offer them help also cities such as the that the particular. Individual you also work with the families do and fluid that's actually. Don't believe it or not a lot of the time when a veteran comes to us they're not coming for us to us for help for themselves they're coming for. A family members they might have him Eminem has cancer that they need access so oil or. They might have a family member that is having issues with alcohol and they just want us a lot of the time to its people want us to go to them to talk to them about what we're able to do for them and how Candace can help them and calm. Family members as it is a huge thing we've just talking about the gold star family. Members yesterday. Talk motor program how we can possibly. Start doing things to show that you know of their members is in forgotten about. Go to their house they think you have a dinner with them pom in organized Mitt small things just to show them that we appreciate them still and appreciate their families and these things that we're still working on. And it. Have you guys I just us now you must go with some are come up against some resistance to what you're trying to do. As the buzzer and as the ran into a trying to shut you down pentagon and anything you can talk about legally get any trouble with the with like the law enforcement or. Lingle actually law enforcement has. Then OK with us for the most part we have had any issues or fourth panel. Tom we've actually had police officers from a few different towns reach out to us directly. Because they show up on on a scene in this event hang in with a needle hanging out his arm and they know all of us or have heard of us me a lot of the guys that I've served with. Work in this community right here in Boston or right here in Massachusetts alone and they know what I'm doing their day most of whom are supportive of what we're doing and they don't want arrest people for them anymore like they know that these people need help. They don't need to be in a jail sweat and you know and then they come out and then they just have the crime drama all over again whereas a lot of them have been reaching out to us com. The reality when it comes any kind of issues like that we don't really everybody's been really supportive and I think that's. Is a hard thing to to go again slow when right when you tell a kid that's. Has one leg or no legs that you can't be taking candidates you should go back on your opiates that don't only sleeping give you nightmares late. Right you just can't tell people like that and I think through our life experiences and what we're able to do. In if we can. Put some kind of positive spin on it that you know it is help announce that and maybe it'll help someone else. I think that is a huge thing and we appreciate you bring up on it. An envelope thanks to make that trip then but as well as many people's possible know that this is out there. In Allen and if you need help because of their form.