DENVER -- Cory Hixson, a decorated Marine veteran severely wounded in Iraq, took off with no shoes or coat in 25-degree weather last week.
His family says he took medicine prescribed by a Department of Veterans Affairs nurse practitioner.
Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman said Hixson's case falls into what he calls a "disturbing pattern" of treatment for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
"Just in looking at the case so far, this is a reaction to powerful drugs that this veteran was given by somebody shouldn't have been prescribed it in the first place," Coffman said.
As a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and a former Marine, Coffman met with Hixson's wife and local director of the Wounded Warrior Project to discuss an alarming increase in suicides by those in treatment.
"I think in trying to help our veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs through their drug-centric treatment modality of therapy is hurting our veterans," Coffman said.
Hixson's wife is optimistic about their meeting but realizes her husband is just one of many.
"I've had a lot of people on social media reach out to me and tell me they're going through the same thing and they're struggling and they need help as well," she said.
Coffman said the current methods of treating vets are dated and ineffective.
"If they're suffering from post-traumatic stress they're better off not going to the VA at all they're better in dealing with it by themselves if we don't change these modalities of treatment," he said.
Besides losing an eye, Hixson suffers from what Coffman calls the two signature injuries from Iraq and Afghanistan: Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD, both of which are accompanied by high suicide rates.AlertMe