When I returned from my third tour in Afghanistan in 2015, adjusting to the slow pace and isolation of civilian life was difficult. Accustomed to the constant turmoil and camaraderie found in a war zone, my new life felt directionless, restless, and solitary.
A month after I got home, I fell asleep on the sofa after drinking a lot of Christmas wine with my family. I was sure I was back in action, fighting for my survival. But when I woke up. I discovered that the battlefield was a wrecked living room and that my enemy was an overturned coffee table.
I realized that I no longer knew what was real and what was not. My subconscious mind was taking over, and I was always in a fight or flight situation. The dark and traumatic memories crept in in ways I didn’t expect. I knew that numbing myself was not an effective long-term strategy, but I needed a temporary escape. I felt trapped while the war was going on inside me.
Psychedelic medicine, along with other therapies and a journey of continuous personal growth and development in mind, body and spirit, has allowed me to recover from the losses I suffered and to let go of negative and intrusive thoughts like, I was the one who died in Afghanistan.”
That’s why I support Proposition 122: The Natural Medicines Health Code. This procedure will help veterans like myself and others with PTSD, as well as people with depression, anxiety, trauma, or other mental health challenges, have safe access to natural medications that may work if other treatments fail. Search from some of the best medical universities in the country like Johns Hopkins UniversityAnd the University of California-San Francisco School of MedicineAnd the New york university It has shown positive patient outcomes for depression and anxiety, and the Food and Drug Administration has described psilocybin as a “breakthrough” treatment.
Proposition 122 would create a state-regulated treatment system for adults over 21 to have access to natural psychedelic medicine under the supervision of a licensed and supervised facilitator at recovery centers and designated health care facilities, such as palliative care. Unlike mental health pharmaceuticals, which are usually taken daily and often come with adverse side effects, narcotic treatments can be given on an as needed basis, or as little as once or twice a year, providing long-term relief without lasting side effects.
Providing Coloradans the option to access this type of drug is critical. Colorado veterans have a significantly higher suicide rate than both veterans and the general population nationwide, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Across the country, more veterans die by suicide than in combat, and suicide is the leading cause of death among vets under the age of 45. Veterans between the ages of 18 and 34 die at nearly three times the rate of non-veterans. At this point, even the VA has begun offering patients anesthetic treatment options as part of their Clinical trials.
It’s a very difficult adjustment to come home after months or years in a combat zone. Many veterans deal with physical and mental health issues, including survivor guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. I do not want the men and women I served with to die at their hands.
What if veterans and others had access to alternative healing therapies in addition to traditional medicines? They deserve every opportunity to recover from the injuries they sustained while serving our country with pride. We all deserve more choices to improve mental health. It’s time we stop demonizing natural remedies like psychedelic drugs that have been used safely and respectfully in other cultures for centuries.
Proposition 122 would give Coloradans safe access to a wide range of treatment options for improved mental health and a better quality of life.
I hope you will join me in voting yes on Proposition 122.
Jason Lopez served one tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan for the US Army. He is currently the CEO of a small, all-seasoned company that focuses on sustainable mushroom cultivation, plant medicine education and psychedelic research.