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State Sen. Gudger: Help for PTSD available for veterans through state-funded SGB shot pilot program

Earlier this year, State Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) secured $200,000 from state coffers to fund a pilot program for military veterans to get help with the struggles of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

That aid comes in the form of a stellate ganglion block (SGB) shot that is a local anesthetic neck injection. It numbs the nerves of the stellate ganglion and then “reboots” the system, which reverts the brain back into its pre-traumatic state.

During an appearance on Wednesday’s broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” the Cullman County lawmaker discussed the merits of the medication.

“This is a good opportunity for all veterans, and really veterans’ families, and that’s what we’re finding out,” Gudger explained. “There’s been a lot of issues from veterans from what they’ve experienced overseas in the state, what they’ve seen and how that affects them, whether it is for trauma, whether it is for anxiety, depression and it wraps up in an umbrella, which is mental illness, PTSD. And by doing post-traumatic stress syndrome, there are a lot of vets that are not able to carry on normal functions of their everyday lives — taking care of their kids, taking care of their job and being consistent in their job, being a loving father or wife to their family or to their spouse, and just taking care of business so they have a normal life like it was before they went to serve our country to protect our freedom.”

Locally, Gudger told FM Talk 106.5 they had raised $170,000 for the shot. He explained once administered, they showed signs of progress.

“From that, it is overwhelming success that we’ve had, and people’s lives and the stories that they tell when they come back is amazing, so that I think we need to expand this,” he said. “We had an opportunity through the General Fund at the state level to talk to [General Fund] chairman [State Sen.] Greg Albritton and say we need to do something at the state level. It’s a pilot program because we’re not doing anything right now, and there’s something that should be done — collect the correct data, make sure that this works, the longevity of it — and from that, present that back to the Senate and to the House so that maybe we can start a full program each year.”

According to Gudger, the $200,000 expenditure will help 160 veterans suffering from PTSD to have the shot for free.

Gudger also urged families of people living with PTSD to encourage those suffering to seek out the shot if their loved one who has PTSD might be reluctant for any reason.

Those interested should be in touch with Wellstone Mental Health Authority in Cullman at (256) 255-1020 for more details.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.