Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to speak to this important issue. I thank the member for Cariboo—Prince George for highlighting the tragedy of PTSD, putting forward concrete solutions to improve the treatment of PTSD in Canada and how we can support the men and women who suffer from it.
Today I will be very brief, as we all want this measure to move quickly through the House. Since time is of the essence, I would simply like to recount the story of a friend of mine, a veteran, and his recent experiences with the tragic consequences of how we treat people with PTSD. This man suffers from both pain from his injuries and PTSD from his experiences. He was once on a regimen of over 30 pills a day. That treatment was ineffective, so he turned to medical marijuana. It turned his life around. He could once again take part in his community and enjoy life.
Last month, Veterans Affairs Canada cut back the amount of cannabis that veterans could use, from 10 grams a day to three. My friends was taking eight grams. Since that action, he has suffered the worst six weeks of his life. His nightmares have returned, and he is only getting three hours of sleep a night. He repeatedly broke down crying while telling me his story.
He was told that this cut was implemented because there was not enough science to support the higher doses. Instead, he has been offered an opportunity to take part in a trial using psilocybin, or MDMA. Why can he not use the cannabis dose that gave him his life back instead of trying new, stronger hallucinogens?
He is also unwilling to go back to the mix of opioids and alcohol, and the dangerous dysfunctional life that produces. He was told that he could get a letter of exception to allow him his former dose of cannabis, but he needs to get that letter signed by a specialist who is willing and able to see him. The earliest appointment he can arrange is September, and that will require travel across the province at his expense.
That is a minimum of four more months of hell for him to satisfy pointless bureaucracy, and he would have to repeat that every year. This does not just affect him. There have been three suicides in his network of PTSD sufferers that use cannabis, since this cutback was implemented. Three lives have been needlessly taken because Veterans Affairs refused to listen to the men and women suffering from PTSD.
I will end there, but I would like to simply repeat that plea. Veterans Affairs should listen to and work constructively with the men and women suffering from PTSD. I wholeheartedly support this bill, because it will help that process.