Recognising and responding to our front-line heroes

Ms Brooke Volger is a medical cannabis patient and veteran of the Australian Defence Force. Brooke saw active service in Iraq and later joined the NSW Police Integrity Commission. She began her health treatments in defence to manage symptoms of PTSD and chronic pain. After negative reactions to most medications, she sought alternative treatments and found the most relief in the form of medical cannabis. Brooke wants cannabis available for those who want to reduce the harm and risks associated with treating complex co-morbid conditions with poly-pharmacology. She now advocates with Weeded Warrior for cooperation; to establish immediate interim measures to progress this issue amongst the veteran and wider community.

Dr Sue Sisley we have just met and appreciate that she has a wealth of knowledge about the use of cannabis for treating PTSD.

Greg Barns is a barrister and writer. He is former National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance and practices in the areas of criminal law, family law and administrative law. He is a former senior political adviser and the author of 3 books on Australian politics. He ran the 1999 Republic Referendum campaign and was National Chair of the Australian Republican Movement from 2000-02. Greg is a weekly columnist with the Hobart Mercury and writes regularly for other outlets.

Mr Mick Palmer is a barrister and 33-year career police officer with extensive experience in police leadership and reform in community, national and international policing. He was appointed Commissioner of the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services agency in 1988 and Serve in that position until 1994 when he was appointed Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Mr Palmer held this position for 7 years until his retirement inMarch 2001.

Rebecca Houghton is a patient and caregiver advocate. As a partner of a combat veteran, she has intimate knowledge of service-induced stress and the effect on partners and families. She watched her partner Michael become a ‘zombie’ on Defence-prescribed pharmaceuticals and dangerously abuse alcohol. After making the decision to leave the workforce to become a stay at home caregiver, and having recognised that the evidence-based treatments were exacerbating Michael’s conditions, she began extensive research into PTSD and related conditions to find information on alternative treatments. Frustrated by the lack of acknowledgement she received towards the modalities that were providing great benefit, she and Michael travelled to the United States to meet with leading professors, researchers and in-the-field practitioners, either studying, or already utilising more holistic modalities to manage Post Traumatic Stress. She is co-founder of Weeded Warrior, Australia’s only ex-service organisation advocating for veterans safe access to cannabis.