Scientologists back David Jolly's bill to study relationship between psychiatric drugs and veteran suicide
Rep. David Jolly, whose ties to the Church of Scientology have generated recent news coverage, is pushing church-backed legislation to study the relationship between psychiatric drugs and veteran suicide.
“I know this type of opioid abuse has been a concern to the church and they have approached me about it as constituents,” the Pinellas County Republican said in an interview.
But he said the church, which is headquartered in Clearwater, did not write the legislation and that veterans groups have raised the issue, too, including Fleet Reserve Association and AMVETS.
Scientologists oppose psychiatry and the use of "mind-altering psychotropic drugs." The church’s Citizens Commission on Human Rights has backed Jolly’s “Veteran Suicide Prevention Act,” which was introduced in March and has attracted more than 20 co-sponsors, Republicans and Democrats.
In an April 7 website posting, CCHR said: “While many studies and reviews have been conducted by a host of government entities to determine the causes behind the increased number of veteran and military suicides,Congressman Jolly’s legislation is the only review to specifically question the psychiatric drug treatments that have become the mainstay of military/veteran mental health care. The need for this kind of comprehensive review is backed up by years of data.”
Jolly’s ties to Scientology made news this month when BuzzFeed News reported that his U.S. Senate campaign had edited his Wikipedia page to remove references to his association with the church.
This line was removed: “Jolly’s relationship with the Church of Scientology, which is based inside his congressional district in Clearwater, Florida, has been reported on in the press, including Jolly’s attendance at various fundraising events hosted by the organization.”
Last August, Jolly was a “guest of honor” at a Scientology’s Clearwater centennial celebration. His wife, Laura, also modeled for the church’s “Fashions with Flair” fundraiser. In 2014, Jolly appeared at a Clearwater fundraiser for Attorney General Pam Bondi hosted by Scientologists.
In a news release, Jolly said of the bill: “It is critical that we understand whether there is any impact of certain psychiatric drugs prescribed for issues like P.T.S.D., depression or traumatic brain injuries, on the decision of a veteran to take their own life. With veterans dying by suicide at a heartbreaking rate, we need to take a hard look at all possible factors in order to help prevent these tragedies.”