WACO, TX — A proposed bill would allow clinical trials to use psilocybin, or hallucinogenic mushrooms, as a form of therapy for veterans who suffer from PTSD.
House Bill 1802 was filed in the 87th Texas Legislative Session last month by Democratic State Rep. Alex Dominguez, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry is backing the bill.
Bobbi Stewart, the program director at the Veterans One Stop, is a veteran herself and suffers from PTSD
"It was a little bit of a secondary PTSD from my dad's PTSD that he experienced in Vietnam," Stewart said.
She has tried many ways of therapy to combat her PTSD. While on the internet one day, she found a holisitc alternative.
"This ad flashed for mud water mushroom tea or mushroom coffee," Stewart said.
The mushrooms in her tea are known as chaga and reishi. She says it's helped her in many aspects of her life.
Although her tea has a form of holistic mushroom in it, the mushrooms used in the HB 1802 are far different.
Stewart doesn't agree with using that type of drug to cope with PTSD.
"I am a master student studying the field of addictions, and there's not going to be a long-term effect and that's what we need to think about is the long-term effect," she said.
Thousands of veterans suffer everyday, including Retired Colonel Jeffery Yarvis, a veteran and Texas A&M-Central Texas associate professor.
"It [PTSD] affects a pretty sizable number of us, but the good news is it's very treatable," Yarvis said.
Before being diagnosed with PTSD himself, he was helping fellow veterans cope with their illness.
Seeing that a bill could be passed to help those like him, Yarvis is hopeful that there's a spotlight on those who need help.
"To raise attention to the fact that veterans do struggle with this. There are a number of evidence-based treatments that work, and I applaud Texas for thinking outside the box," Yarvis said.
There have been studies that show that the use of psilocybin can help those suffering.
If this bill is passed, there would be a clinical trial by the Health and Human Services commission, a health and sciences university as well as a Veterans Affairs hospital.
HB 1802 is currently in Stage 1 and will need House Committee Approval before moving on to a vote.