OAN’s Taylor Tinsley
12:04 PM – Saturday, November 11, 2023
Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) is holding its third annual gala to end veteran suicide.
VETS hosted the organization’s first Torchbearer Ball on Veterans day in 2020 and has since sold out to about 600 guests every year in San Diego, California.
The event features several entertainers, speakers and award recipients. This year’s recipients include Dr. Andrew Huberman, Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), and Dr. Nolan Williams, for their research and advocacy for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
According to its website, VETS is the leading organization focused on ending the veteran suicide epidemic by helping veterans through psychedelic therapy.
In an interview with OAN, VETS co-founder Amber Capone was able to shed light on the accomplishments that the organization has made in advocacy for supporting veterans so far.
Amber and her husband Marcus created VETS during his transition back to civilian life in 2017 after serving for the United States Navy.
Like many veterans dealing with invisible injuries such as traumatic brain injury or post traumatic stress disorder, traditional approaches didn’t work for Marcus so they turned to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
“With each failed attempt for treatment in the United States he became more and more disheartened and I was afraid I would lose him to suicide,” said Amber. “I knew that he was grappling with suicidal thoughts and so psychedelic therapy for us was a hail mary. Not only did this save his life it could potentially save the lives of veterans across the United States.”
Amber said Marcus and most of the veterans in their program are doing a protocol that involves ibogaine and a molecule known as 5-MeO-DMT, which allows people to enter a wakened dream state where they can revisit past trauma and move on.
Psychedelic therapy is illegal in the U.S., however, and Amber said that’s what really created VETS’ mission.
“Our goal in terms of advocacy is to bring awareness that these therapies exist, they’re out there and they’re very effective, and to try to unlock federal funding to further the research,” Amber said.“We will never be able to get ahead of the demand that exists as one organization, the only way to do that is to make these therapies available in the U.S. and find a way in which they can be paid for that primarily involves the VA.”
She noted that veterans are often excluded from clinical trials happening with psychedelics in the U.S. typically because they have more than one diagnosis or suicidal thoughts, so their advocacy efforts really surround educating and asking for funding at the state and federal level to further research.
At the Torchbearer Ball, Amber said $0.85 per dollar of the funds allocated goes directly to support veterans in their program.
She added they’ve got an extensive waitlist, as a lot of veterans are suffering, and they can only serve 10-20% of special operations out of the hundreds of applications they receive every year.
To read more about VETS and their advocacy to end veteran suicide, click and visit their website here.
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