Military’s $3 million anti-suicide nasal spray

Admittedly, this sounds dumb to us in the force. Honestly though, the research being done at Indiana University School of Medicine is pennies-on-the-dollar compared to the ghastly Spiritual Fitness nonsense – the current anti-suicide strategy.

INDIANAPOLIS — Could a nasal spray provide a quick antidote to suicidal thoughts among soldiers? An Indiana University School of Medicine scientist has been awarded a $3 million research grant from the U.S. Army to develop such a system.

For Michael J. Kubek, Ph.D., associate professor of anatomy and cell biology and of neurobiology, the Army-funded international research collaboration on suicidal ideation is the latest development from more than three decades of work with thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH, a neuro-chemical Dr. Kubek helped discover in the human brain.

TRH is known to have anti-depressant and anti-suicidal effects, as well as anti-convulsant effects in humans, but it cannot easily cross the “blood-brain barrier” the body uses to protect the brain. That means delivering TRH via injection or orally would have little sustained effect.

So Kubek and his colleagues are developing an intranasal nanoparticle drug delivery system in which TRH or other neuropeptides could be introduced into the nasal cavity, where olfactory neurons can collect particles directly. The neuropeptides would be incorporated into biodegradable nanoparticles that dissolve at a controlled rate designed to deliver appropriate doses of the drug to the brain over time.

Spiritual Fitness, on the other hand, cost US taxpayers $125 million. Since its implementation in 2009, the suicide rate has skyrocketed. People are literally dying because of this religious crap. One service member takes their life every day, now.

Choose life, soldier. Snort this.

military's anti-suicide nasal spray

I’m frankly all for some real science being done. My peers are less receptive, likely because it’s such a foreign concept. The two discussions I heard on this subject did yield some funny and / or interesting observations.

“Can we spray the suicide bombers with crop dusters?”

“As recruiters, can we now let in all the people with clinical depression and histories of self-harm?”

“Can a soldier overdose on anti-suicide spray?”

“Are we supposed to carry it around in our IFAK (first aid kit)?”

“How would a supervisor know ahead of time (sometimes it’s just not possible to ‘know your soldier that well 24/7′)?”

“How would it be distributed? Pharmacy? Would they still have to wait 4 hours in line for their name to pop up?”

“Would you be able to keep a Secret / Top Secret clearance if you are feeling suicidal?”

“Would you simply carry it with you like a person with an asthma inhaler?”

“What if you are suicidal, but you also have a sinus infection or bad seasonal allergies… and can’t breathe through your nose?” (immediately somebody said, “In the butt.”)

Yuck it up. It sure as hell beats the Virtual Spiritual Fitness Center. Yes, that thing actually exists. And no, it has not been updated since I started ‘covering’ its existence.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • So if you’re not depressed, will it make you feel even better than you already did?

    • Justin Griffith

      There’s other things to snort for that.

      • steve84

        But the military doesn’t like those

      • dysomniak, darwinian socialist

        @steve84 Really?

  • wholething

    If they can work out the side-effects it seems like a good thing but I would worry that it might become addictive. Would the brain lower its natural output of TRH to compensate for the spray? When a person leaves the service, would they lose access to the spray with a reduced ability to produce the hormone?

    But then, I’ve always been a bit paranoid about messing with my brain chemistry. Maybe there’s a pill for that, too.

  • ottod

    I just went to the Virtual Spiritual whatsomever site. Under Religious Preference, at the bottom of the menu were “Other,” “Don’t Know,” “No Preference,” and “None.”


    • Justin Griffith

      Keep in mind… ‘spirituality has NOTHING to do with religion’. <—- this really is what they tell reporters.

  • Stevarious

    Could a nasal spray provide a quick antidote to suicidal thoughts among soldiers?

    Sure! Fill it with cocaine!

    Ow, wait, you want an ethical method…. hmmmmm…. hmm hmm hmm, that’s tough.

  • When you are imminently suicidal, the risks of potential addiction and non-lethal side-effects are not zero-sum. Since my own suicide attempt, I have been taking some very potent medications that have the potential for serious side effects. However, if I were not taking the medication, there is a very good chance I would either not be alive or my quality of life severely diminished.

    As far as carrying it as a normal part of a med-kit, not being in the military, I can’t even speculate on the idea, other than to say I assume most kits only contain those materials most likely to be required in the field.

    What is important in using a product such as this is an acceptance of suicide as a reaction to an illness that needs to be treated. The shame needs to be removed from the feelings of suicide/self-harm.

    Having said all that, I think a product such as this is a long way from being acceptable for use on humans.

    • Justin Griffith

      Well said. Thank you very much for sharing. When people talk as honestly as you just did, it does a great deal to remove the stigma of behavioral health issues. You rock.

  • Maybe someone could invest in finding ways to make soldiers not want to kill themselves in the first place.

    • Justin Griffith

      Too smart. You are hereby demoted.

      On the other hand, they probably already think they already have invested as such… look at all those ‘hip’ and ‘radical’ bowling alleys, golf courses, and ping pong tables!!! It’s almost like you just asked them to buy $3 million dollars of more outdated rec-center equipment, and old-people sports niches instead. Demoted again.


  • Aliasalpha

    If it can save lives and also works as a decongestant, I’ll take it. All it’d need is to cure arthritis & that’d solve 3 of my major problems at once

  • steve b

    I am the suicide awareness and prevention SME for my detachment. I want to give the troops a good brief where they’ll take away things that will let them be more aware of this issue in their lives. A lot of griping you’ll hear about training amounts to “Well when are we ever going to use this?” Well I think knowing what to look for if someone you care about is thinking of hurting or killing themselves, and what to do if you see it or if they tell you is something useful for the Army and long afterward. I think if I just do the standard ppt, little video, and back-and-forth about what we just saw, it’ll go in one ear, out the other, and nobody will think about it again until the next time around. Anyone have ideas on how to make this brief more worth the time?

    • DPB

      It might be kind of grim or maybe a little rough…but perhaps bring in someone who ignored warning signs for a little too long and lost someone they loved? That should make it abundantly clear that they could be saving a life and that life could be a spouse’s, best friend’s, or even a child’s.

  • left0ver1under

    This is always the US’s way of doing things. Rather than address the cause of the problem (e.g. extended tours and suicide, US foreign policy and anti-US terrorism), someone invents a “solution” and makes money off of it.

    An anti-sucide drug? Why not address the known connection between lariam and violence, murder and suicide. AFAIK, US soldiers are “required” to take it, with no option for quinine or anything else as an anti-malarial drug.

    How many suicides would be prevented by not taking a particular drug? And how many new side-effects will result from mixing the “anti-suicide spray”? I highly doubt that this drugs was tested together with others to look for side effects. Drug companies think it’s unprofitable.

    • michaelbrew

      An anti-sucide drug? Why not address the known connection between lariam and violence, murder and suicide. AFAIK, US soldiers are “required” to take it, with no option for quinine or anything else as an anti-malarial drug.

      I know, and it gives you the runs, too. There’s a reason most of the guys in my unit stopped taking it the first chance they got.

    • steve84

      In Ireland they used to call that “An Irish solution to an Irish problem”

  • Interestingly, I have a full-on dissociative disorder, and still have a TS/SCI clearance.

    Military is weird, yo.