Iraq war vet credits Ecstasy–assisted therapy with saving his life

An Iraq war veteran, suffering from PTSD, is praising the effects of ecstasy and crediting MDMA for helping him move forward with his life.

The synthetic psychoactive drug that produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, and empathy toward others, is well-known on the club circuit because of its popularity among ravers.

It’s also being called, by some, a silver bullet for PTSD.

According to, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has been conducting “groundbreaking trials” on using MDMA to help war veterans and others with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Virgil Huston, a former Army National Guard member served in the military during the Cold War. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, he served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a contractor.

On his time in Iraq, Huston said it was a “stupid and ill-advised war.”

He was involved in mostly indirect combat—where he came under attack with mortars and rockets without ever seeing the enemy. “You were always on edge, something you really didn’t realize until you were home when the adrenaline rush didn’t go away.”

Huston says when the blast from a nearby rocket-landing knocked him out for a time, he lost his hearing for a couple of days. Huston says the VA doesn’t recognize his claim for hearing loss or PTSD.

“I had all the symptoms of depression. I had problems at work…. I ended up unemployed and was about to have my house foreclosed on.”

Upon returning from Afghanistan, Huston says he was on all kinds of anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication, but nothing worked. If anything, he says “they made things worse.” He became addicted to Ambien and other prescription meds.

The bad rap MDMA-Assisted therapy was getting in the press was bogus, he said. Huston calls the policymakers who are withholding this treatment from vets, criminals.

He calls the three-month psychotherapy treatment “wonderful and enlightening” on a number of levels. “There’s lots of instrumental music involved, while closing your eyes and paying attention to what’s going on in your mind….lots of thoughts and imagery.”

According to the MAPS research, one thing the MDMA facilitates is thinking about traumatic experiences in a neutral, safe manner. “Then, it seems those memories are put back in their place in the brain in a different configuration,” Huston said.

During the second session of therapy, Huston says the war trauma came up on its own and it was “intense.” The third session was all about his own psyche and went beyond war trauma or “anything else external.”

Huston says MDMA therapy brought him immeasurable benefits. “I finally have a job. I no longer think about Iraq and Afghanistan all the time.”

He says his war memories don’t keep him awake at night anymore. “I can now deal with the challenges of everyday life much better.”


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