Lancaster County Veteran reacts to Fort Hood as he recalls his painful past

The issue of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is getting renewed attention following the deadly shooting in Fort Hood, Texas.

Lancaster County Veteran, Kevin Kauffman combats memories from his past. He says, “I was in an IED accident in Afghanistan and injured my back, so when I came back, the doctor started me on narcotic pain medications.”

Kauffman says Veterans Affairs prescribed him opium after his two major traumas.

Kauffman says, “The medications I was on didn’t feel good to take.”

But for three years, he continued to quell his pain, long after it began.

Kauffman says, “The third year it was like I would take more, to chase pain away and it would never go away.”

When the addiction began taking a toll on his wife and three children, he knew he needed help.

He says, “I was ashamed. I felt ashamed because it’s not me…They sent me to Malvern Institute just for detox.”

At the Lebanon VA Medical Center, public affairs officer, Doug Etter, says doctors treat veterans with PTSD depending on their specific needs.

Etter says, “It’s consistent and continuous and coordinated through a variety of departments and professionals in this professional team which we call a patient aligned care team.”

Kauffman’s been narcotic free since he sought help a couple weeks ago.  He encourages other vets to follow in his footsteps.

Kauffman says, “I want the veterans to watch out, just be safe with it and if you don’t have to take it, don’t at all because we could save one veteran at a time.”

For more information and ways to seek help, contact the Lebanon VA Health Center.