Paul Lewin

Jun 19, 2021

Veteran access to psilocybin for PTSD

Master Corporal Atkinson

Veterans suffering from PTSD should have legal access to psilocybin. Master Corporal Atkinson served in the Canadian military for 25 years. His active duty service in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan took a toll on his health. He made great sacrifices in the name of Canada and world peace. His active duty service in war zones was violent and traumatic. He is seeking a section 56 exemption permitting him compassionate access to psilocybin mushrooms to treat his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Treatment Resistant Depression, Treatment Resistant Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, and Chronic Pain Syndrome.

Master Corporal Atkinson has tried all conventional treatments and medications to treat his health issues without success. In March-April 2019, he tried psilocybin. It provided him with significant relief from both anxiety and depression. It dramatically improved his outlook. He feels peace and happiness now for the first time since he was young. His relationship with his wife and children is “100% better.” His relationship with the other veterans with whom he works is much better. It has been a miracle for him.

Master Corporal Atkinson’s s. 56 application was accompanied by a letter from Dr. Michael Verbora of Field Trip Health indicating that Master Corporal Atkinson meets the inclusion criteria for psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy and does not have any contraindications. Dr. Verbora states that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy would be not just safe and efficacious treatment for Master Corporal Atkinson, but failure to access this exemption could jeopardize his health.

Section 56 exemptions for the use of psilocybin mushrooms have been granted on a compassionate basis to individuals suffering from end-of-life depression and anxiety. Compassionate access, in the right circumstances, should be similarly granted to veterans suffering from treatment resistant PTSD. Master Corporal Atkinson should not be forced to choose between his health and the law. He should not be treated as a criminal. He deserves better.