An IU scientist is on the frontlines of one of the biggest battles facing the U.S. Military…suicides.
The Pentagon said there have been more than 33 suicides a month since January. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said it’s an epidemic.
Now, the military is looking to Dr. Michael Kubek at the Indiana School of Medicine for help.
“Suicides in the military are the second highest cost of death outside of combat so this is a real problem,” Dr. Kubek said.
He’s developing a cutting edge nasal mist that will quickly deliver powerful anti-depressants through the nose to the brain.
“It helps to cross the blood-brain barrier, gain access to the brain with fewer side effects and
then gets into the central nervous system and gets directly into the brain rather than through the lungs,” Dr. Kubek said.
Scientists at Purdue and Hebrew University in Jerusalem are also working on the program as part of the $3 million grant from the military. Dr. Kubek said everyone will benefit from this research.
“The military is addressing it very aggressively,” Dr. Kubek said. “It will not only help the military but the civilian population as well.”
Gregg Keesling’s son, Chancellor, committed suicide in Iraq during his second tour of duty in 2009.
“I miss my boy terribly,” Keesling said.
He now remembers the happy times with his son but the scars from that tragedy run deep to his soul. Gregg said the military should have done more to stop it.
He hopes Dr. Kubek’s nasal mist will one day spare families from going through the horrors of suicide.
“This is part of war and it’s just something we've got to work to fix and stop it and we can.
“We've got the technology and maybe that nasal device you're talking about now is part of that technology,” Keesling said.