War veteran asks government to access illegal drugs Meredith Bond

Two days after Citytv released a new documentary on psychedelic drugs which featured a war veteran from Hamilton, another man who served our country overseas has sent a letter to Health Canada, seeking permission to use magic mushrooms to help him treat his PTSD.

In the documentary, “VeraCity: The Psychedelic Frontier,” war veteran Patrick Moulden searched for ways to cure his PTSD after a stint in Afghanistan.

“What I saw in Afghanistan was just a level of hatred that it’s hard to imagine,” Moulden said.

After medications like antidepressants didn’t help him, he turned to a psychedelic drug, one he says worked. Now, another veteran, who lives outside Ottawa, is taking it further.

“I saw death and destruction everyday,” said Master Corporal Scott Atkinson.

He also served in Afghanistan and is suffering from PTSD as well. He recently submitted an application to Health Canada for an exemption under Section 56 of The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to access psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.

If approved, it would allow him to access psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms.

“The letter basically explained what I’ve been through, what I have tried to do to help me with PTSD and the request for authorization to use psilocybin,” said Atkinson.

Psilocybin is currently not legal in Canada. Last year, a few patients facing terminal illnesses were granted the same exemption Atkinson seeks, to treat their end-of-life anxiety. Atkinson says his condition is equally as serious.

RELATED: The Psychedelic Frontier

“With my anxiety and depression, I can go from zero to suicidal tendencies within five minutes,” Atkinson said.

After using small amounts of psilocybin in a process known as microdosing, Atkinson says his life has changed.

“You don’t have the anxiety, you don’t have the depression, you feel human again. You’re not banging your head against the wall.”

Several clinical research studies have been published which show the potential for psychedelics like psilocybin to treat depression, anxiety and PTSD.

Atkinson submitted the application with the help of Field Trip Health Limited, a Toronto-based centre which assists people seeking to use psychedelics.

If approved, the application would be the first exemption granted to a Canadian military veteran, and the first to be granted to any Canadian without a terminal illness.

Also, if approved, the application could open the door for Canadians and other military veterans to access psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.

“Of anyone, with his valor and distinguished career, Master Corporal Atkinson is certainly amongst the most deserving to be given this,” said Field Trip co-founder Ronan Levy. “But we believe all Canadians suffering with mental health conditions should have the right to access these therapies without fear of recrimination.”

Atkinson says while psilocybin has been a life saver, it’s most helpful if done with proper supervision and counseling.

“There’s a lot of therapy you have to do with it, but if it’s done properly with therapy, it’s a wonderful thing,” said Atkinson.

Atkinson now hopes his application for exemption will be approved, and not only for himself. “I hope this allows others to see they have options if prescribed mediations like antidepressants aren’t working for them. Not just veterans or first responders but giving everyone the help that they need.”

Health Canada has 90 days to respond to Atkinson’s request.

If you missed our documentary, VeraCity: “The Psychedelic Frontier,” you can watch it here.

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