Six veterans, in conjunction with the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Swords to Plowshares, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense (DoD), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. Army.
Between 1950 and 1976, the veterans claim they were part of government experiments at the Edgewood Arsenal in Edgewood, Maryland. Should the veterans win their case and be granted all they are asking, they will receive:
- Health care for physical damages sustained as a result of the experiments; and
- The ability to break their oaths of secrecy taken at the time of the experiments.
The plaintiffs claim the government used experimental drugs on them. As soldiers, they volunteered for a temporary duty assignment for which they were told they would be testing Army equipment such as protective masks and boots.
Following signing the waivers of confidentiality, the soldiers were informed they would be given different drugs and their reactions would be recorded. They were given an assurance they would not be given anything not previously given to other soldiers.
The second drug administered to one of the veterans was atropine. Atropine is an anti-cholinergic drug containing hallucinogenic properties. The two-and-a-half days of horror that followed consisted of:
- Vivid hallucinations of animals coming out of walls;
- Hearing voices calling his name when nobody was there; and
- Attempting to gouge his skin with a razor to cut out his freckles, which he believed had turned into living bugs.
Upon discharge from the Army, veterans found themselves dealing with various new symptoms, including:
- Problems with authority;
- Memory loss;
- Anxiety disorders;
- Breathing disorders; and
- Heart problems.
Approximately 7,200 GIs participated in the drug testing at various facilities around the U.S. Of those, about 3,500 to 4,000 remain alive. This spring will see those veterans attempting to get certified as a “class” with those veterans still alive and interested. The lawsuit is still in its infancy, and there is still much to be done.
Learn more about experimental drugs being used on veterans
If you are a veteran who has been denied disability compensation by the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. We can appeal your rating decision and fight for your rights. You are entitled to certain programs and benefits based upon your VA rating decision so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.