IAVA Member Advocate: 2022 Virtual Fly-In; 2021 Virtual Fly-In; Storm the Hill 2020; Storm the Hill 2019 – Spring & Summer
Hometown: Uxbridge, MA
Background: Stephen served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard as a Sergeant. He deployed to Iraq from 12/2004 -10/2005 as a Sergeant attached to the 793rd Military Police Battalion. Stephen serves as Selectman on his town’s Select Board. He is a co-founder of the Cannabis Advancement Series and the 2019 Veterans Health and Medical Cannabis Study providing education, services, support, and advocacy for and to veterans interested in utilizing alternative healing approaches and methodologies in treating ailments or conditions which affect them physically, emotionally, or psychologically thereby reducing the use of opiates and other pharmacological drugs that have side effects of increased suicidal thoughts or actions, and overdose death.
Stephen is a member of IAVA because of our mission to empower and advocate for veterans. He feels the most pressing priority is for the VA to provide education and access to cannabis and other alternative therapies that are helping himself and countless other veterans but are currently prohibited by outdated VA policy. Being able to maintain continuity of care is crucial for those needing medication-assisted treatment and having to seek care and medicine from private sector physicians becomes very costly when having to pay out-of-pocket, especially for those on fixed incomes. Stephen feels that for the VA to gain the trust of veterans it needs to be an institution that conforms to the needs of each individual instead of veterans having to conform to it. He believes that having a VA that listens to Veterans and adapts to their needs will have the effects we all want to see in the way of preventing veteran suicides and overdose deaths.
Ask Me about These IAVA Policy Priorities: Cannabis & Other Alternative Therapies
Follow Me on Twitter:@sjmandile