Several wounded military veterans who use psychedelic drugs for pain management are having success convincing lawmakers to support drug decriminalization efforts, reports the New York Times.
Jose Martinez, a former Army gunner whose right arm and both legs were blown off by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, has a new calling: He’s become one of the most effective lobbyists in a campaign to legalize the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs across the country.
On a Zoom call this spring with Connie Leyva, a Democratic legislator in California who has long opposed relaxing drug laws, Mr. Martinez told her how psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in “magic” mushrooms, had helped to finally quell the physical pain and suicidal thoughts that had tormented him.
Ms. Leyva says she changed her mind even before the call ended, and she later voted yes on the bill, which is expected to become law early next year.
“For a very long time I didn’t understand why I was so mad at the world,” said Mr. Martinez, 33, who grew up in South Los Angeles and lives with his wife at the edge of the Mojave Desert. Psilocybin, he said, changed everything. Although he still grapples with constant pain, his “journeys” while using the drug allow him to step outside himself and focus on the good, and what is possible in life, which lately includes sidelines as a Paralympic surfer, an archer and a weight-training enthusiast. He also runs a nonprofit that seeks to connect veterans to nature through wilderness outings.