Now, he’s returned to the issue in a striking new photo series dubbed #OperationOverMed.
Whiter, 39, a Marine, recently launched the project, which consists of portraits of veterans — himself included — comparing alternatives like medical marijuana with the pharmaceuticals they’ve been prescribed to treat their ailments. The result is a sort of denouncement of the synthetic route of treatment for something more natural, though no less persecuted.
Having joined the Marines some 20 years ago at age 19, Whiter eventually worked his way up to staff sergeant and served in the Iraq war. Following that, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, received a medical discharge, and was prescribed pharmaceutical medication by a VA hospital.
“Over a period of five years I was on 40 different medications,” he said. “Everything from anti-depressants to anti-anxiety medication. At one point they had me on Methadone for chronic pain. I was 35 at the time.”
However, since 2012, Whiter has been using marijuana medically to treat his PTSD, and says that he “felt more relaxed after one joint than I had after tons of combinations of pharmaceuticals.”
Now, with #OperationOverMed, Whiter tells NBC that he hopes to bring attention to the other veterans who share his alternative treatment experience — and not just with marijuana.
“All of these veterans have chosen alternative treatments, whether it’s medical marijuana or acupuncture,” Whiter tells NBC. “As long as they’re saying, ‘Screw these pills, I want to do what’s right for my body.’ ”
Whiter is also currently accepting volunteers for #OperationOverMed. Check out his Facebook page for more information on how to help.