New coalition, Alternative Treatment for Veterans, works to give veterans easier access to medical marijuana

Iraq War veteran Stephen Mandile was prescribed 57 medications over 10 years of treatment through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and pain from a spinal cord injury.

Eventually, he tried to kill himself.

He says things got better after he started using medical marijuana when the first Massachusetts dispensary opened in 2015. “I was able to get off of all my other medications and have an improvement in quality of life from making the switch to cannabis,” Mandile said. “It helps me with pain and other issues more than any other medication really could without turning me off completely and not being able to feel anything.”

Mandile, of Uxbridge, is now director of community outreach for a new Massachusetts nonprofit, Alternative Treatment for Veterans. The coalition formed to teach veterans about the medical benefits of marijuana, and to advocate for their increased

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