The Greeley Tribune | By Whitney Phillips
Former U.S. Navy Corpsman Jeremy Usher came home in 2003 from Iraq and Afghanistan to sleepless nights and panic attacks, with vivid flashbacks of combat, horrifying nightmares, anxiety and depression, all amid memory loss and a severe stutter.
After turning to alcohol to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, Jeremy is serving probation in Weld and Larimer counties for his second and third DUIs. He’s doing well in counseling and school, he says, but he faces jail time for using marijuana medicinally while on probation to manage his PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
Jeremy finds himself in legal limbo. Medicinal marijuana is the one treatment that’s helped him with his PTSD, but he violates his probation when he uses it, which puts him at risk of going back to jail.
“The court systems are very black and white, and PTSD is the definition of gray area,” said Jeremy, 31. “They’re not acknowledging the gray area.”
Jeremy — “Doc” to the Marines he treated as a combat medic — remembers hearing a loud snap when he was shot in the side of his head. He was on the back of a helicopter sent into a hot zone to rescue wounded Marines, and he was struck as they were lifting off the ground, leaving him brain damage that caused his memory loss and stutter.
“I think the fact that I can’t remember what happened is a good thing,” Jeremy said.