Matt Ryan New York Now

A bill to expand New York state’s medical marijuana program to cover sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder passed both houses of the Legislature, but will Gov. Andrew Cuomo sign it into law?

New York’s medical marijuana program is far more restrictive than most states. About a dozen conditions are eligible for treatment, including, according to the State Health Department, “severe and debilitating” forms of cancer, HIV, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

On May 1, the Department of Defense released new information about a troubling subject: cases of sexual assault in the military. The data shows that 14,900 service members reported being sexually assaulted in 2016. That’s down from 20,300 reported cases in 2014. Despite the reduction in those numbers, the DoD isn’t confusing progress with success. The vast majority of cases go un-reported, with many victims choosing silence out of fear of retaliation. They struggle with PTSD, and sometimes, cannot find access to counseling services.

All of these issues are at the heart of a compelling new play now on stage at Geva Theatre Center. It’s called Other than Honorable, and it tells the story of Grace Rattigan. Now a private attorney, Grace served in the military in her 20s and was a victim of sexual assault. Even though she left active duty, her experiences continue to haunt her – she suffers from PTSD, nightmares, and the added stress of her husband being deployed to Afghanistan. But her life takes on new meaning when she accepts a military sexual assault case.

The play was 10 years in the making, but, of course, remains relevant today. We discuss Other than Honorable, and how to help victims of sexual assault.

  • Jamie Pachino, playwright
  • Jessiee Datino, actor who plays Grace Rattigan in Other than Honorable
  • Kinga Kondor-Hine, licensed mental health counselor at the Veterans Outreach Center
  • Pat Bishop, art therapist at the Veterans Outreach Center

Oak Hill is hosting the 2016 Simpson Cup, which is basically the Ryder Cup for disabled and injured veterans. Teams of 13 injured servicemen and veterans from the USA and the UK compete in this golf event every year. The event rotates host nations, raising funds for the On Course Foundation, an organization that supports the recovery of wounded, injured, and sick service personnel.

We meet the 2016 American and British captains (each wounded veterans), and we discuss broader issues related to supporting injured service members. Our guests:

  • John Simpson, founder of the Simpson Cup
  • Steve Ogletree, American captain living with depression and PTSD
  • Paul Swain, UK captain who lost an arm in a bomb blast in Afghanistan
  • Jeremy Bagley, executive director of JDRF Rochester and a 10-year veteran of the United States Army

There are many of us that either are, or knew a person, dealing with PTSD. On this Connections we talk with Dr. Kathy Platoni, a longtime colonel who worked with the U.S. Army Reserve on the effects of war, or PTSD. She’s speaking at Hobart and William Smith about PTSD in modern warfare.

Later on, how can you be a friend to a friend who's sick? Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of the popular book How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick is coming to the JCC, joins us on the phone and Lori Harter of the JCC joins us in studio.