Army Veteran Faces Prison For Using DMT To Treat Excruciating Cluster Headaches

What would you do if you had to choose between suffering for years with devastating cluster headaches or using an illegal substance (DMT) for relief and risking prison time?

Probably, most of us would opt for number two as it’s only logical to try something that harms no one and can help us function normally with a decent quality of life. Do you think it’s fair to face prison time if you make this choice?

This is the story of Damon Laetzsch, an army veteran who, suffering from one of the most painful types of headaches there is, turned to psilocybin mushrooms and DMT (Dimethyltryptamine or “the spirit molecule”), one of the most powerful psychedelics on the planet.

At the time of this reporting, initially done by High Times’ Patrick Maravelias, Laetzsch is facing a potential prison sentence of 6-and-a-half years if he gets convicted for the possession and manufacturing of dangerous drugs. 

“It’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” Laetzsch said. “Nothing helps the headache as well as DMT when I’m actually having it. It will abort the headache immediately. A small hit will abort the headache for about an hour to an hour and a half. If I take a bigger hit it can last longer but some of the headaches last a few hours so I would have to take a few hits during that episode. But, I would be pain-free. It wasn’t even a psychoactive amount that I smoked to abort the headache.”

According to a Swedish study published in the National Library of Medicine, psychoactive substances can help with these types of headaches.“These patients are in a desperate and vulnerable situation, and illicit psychoactive substances are often considered a last resort,” per the study. “There appeared to be little or no interest in psychoactive effects per se as these were rather tolerated or avoided by using sub-psychoactive doses. Primarily, psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide, and related psychedelic tryptamines were reportedly effective for both prophylactic and acute treatment of cluster headache and migraines.”

Not A Perfect Person, But Who Is?

Why such a harsh penalty, you may wonder? Part of the problem is strict Arizona laws. Another is that this is not Laetzsch’s first offense.

After returning home from two deployments, Laetzsch began using marijuana for several chronic issues after his physician told him it could help. “I know it doesn’t matter for them but my doctor told me [after] they tried to give me a bunch of Xanax and painkillers for my chronic pain and anxiety and PTSD and I told them I’m not really big on pills,” he told High Times. “And [my doctor] told me, ‘well you can just smoke marijuana but it’s illegal.’”

So he did, got busted and ended up serving two-and-a-half years in prison. That was over 20 years ago.

While Laetzsch had several other charges against him over the years, like driving under the influence with his son in the car, for which he was arrested, and running a chop shop, the question stands: should he be punished now for using a substance that he clearly needs?

He’s paid his debt to society for his previous offenses, right? And now he’s facing not only another loss of freedom but his headaches will return if he’s incarcerated and prohibited from treating himself. Is this fair? Humane? A jury of his peers will decide. One hopes that they will not punish him for using a substance that helps him and harms no one. Does it matter that he served in the army?

Laetzsch, meanwhile is looking at a plea deal that involves a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence or facing a trial that could result in an even harsher punishment…or not. 

Those who sympathize with and support Damon Laetzsch can help by sending letters of support to Alcock & Associates PC Attn: Vernon Lorenz, 2. N Central Ave, 26th Floor, Pheonix, AZ 85004.

So, America what’ll it be? Do you genuinely thank your veterans for their service or will you look the other way when they come home with cluster headaches, PTSD and anxiety? 

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