One veteran’s journey to ending his deep-seeded depression led him to the jungles of Peru to discover an alternative treatment known as ayahuasca, and now Richard Stroder is advocating for other veterans to have the same opportunity to treat PTSD.
“With the barrel to my temple and my finger on the trigger, I began to wonder what the moments between the gun firing and my death would be like,” Stroder recalled. “In my questioning I realized that what I wanted was not to die, but to reclaim agency of my life and live it instead of simply survive through it.”
More than 20 veterans take their own lives each and every day, and the “cold, sterile, institutionalized treatment” Stroder, like many other soldiers, received from the VA just didn’t cut it.
Former Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan LeCompte, who organizes trips to Peru for veterans seeking treatment, explained, “Instead of sweeping your dirt under the rug, these medicines force you to take the rug outside and beat it with a stick until it’s clean.”