Once A Soldier Funds First Ketamine-IV Drip Therapy

Once A Soldier Funds First Ketamine-IV Drip Therapy

 Finally, Effective Treatment for Suicidal Veterans & Their Families 

How long do PTSD Veterans and their families have to wait for psilocybin treatment to get going? While Congress idles with no answers, some Vets are going out of the country for this treatment. We can do better here at home and we are. Our answer to how long is “no longer.” Help is needed now as more and more Veterans are committing suicide at an alarming rate above the civilian average.

Putting our money where our hearts are, Once A Soldier is defraying the costs of a full six sessions of Ketamine IV drip treatments. James Simpson and his wife Jennifer are both combat Veterans. It is our intent for James to defeat his PTSD with this grant. We know he will.


ketamin iv drip

Ketamine Clinics Are Already Functional Around the Nation

The initial call from James’ wife Jennifer spurred Once A Soldier to monetize their prevention efforts with this first-ever grant. Treatment will be at the Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness starting in February 2022. Private, out-of-pocket clinics like this are all over the country, and we have partnered with two here in Jacksonville during our service time. We wish the Simpson family the best and will update James’ progress in this blog.

Once A Soldier has always been a resource for Veteran suicide prevention and information. Our mission started as – and still is – postvention, but we have grown to offer prevention help for both Veteran and family, pre and postvention. Note our scholarships for Equine-Assisted Therapy for Veterans and their families here in north Florida, as well as our Transcendental Meditation scholarships which has been granted around the country now that COVID-19 has changed. Despite the apparent dichotomy, we have also championed other free and drug-free mental health treatments.

We are first, but we are not alone.

Back in 2021, a collection of the largest Veteran service organizations implored Congress to fast track the journey towards adding psilocybin to prevent Veteran suicide. Across America, renowned institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University run psychedelic research centers and medical groups. They see the future. With 20 Veteran suicides a day, and the reason they suicide, something advanced needs to be considered. And they are. Meanwhile, Once A Soldier has grant a modest amount to enable That is a big ask as some psilocybins currently sit in Category 1 with heroin. Ketamine is considered a Schedule 3 because it is so hard to make. However, r

There are US Veterans leaving the country to seek this type of medical treatment. Surely, we can find our way faster for their sake.

Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness owners

James Stephen Oleksa, MD Anesthesiology,Medical Director and Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, Virginia Beach, VA.

Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness owners

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Carolanne Garofalo and Tricia Lee are co-owners at Virginia Beach Ketamine and Wellness.


Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

OAS Endorses Fast-Track Psilocybin Research

OAS Endorses Fast-Track Psilocybin Research

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 25, 2021 – Ponte Vedra, Florida

Once A Soldier Endorses a Warp Speed Option for Psilocybin Research To Save Veteran Lives

Psilocybin drugs are the rising starts when it comes to killing PTSD in post-9/11 Veterans

In recent days, we have modified our website to include the three major psilocybin treatment options researched today. MDMA, ketamine and magic mushrooms have separated themselves as superior to big-pharma anti-depressant medications. They have shown the unique ability to rewire the brain and destroy a Veteran’s PTSD. Marijuana to a lesser extend provides mental relief from PTSD, but psilocybin has that extra break-though into the subconscious. That’s where the real healing, and magic, takes place. For examples of what it’s like to meet your demons and win during a trip, check this out.

“There is a mounting body of evidence to support our view. And this research is coming from highly-reputable institutions in the US, such as the psilocybin research coming from Johns Hopkins.  We are losing the war on PTSD. PTSD is what kills our Veterans. All forms of micro-dosing these mind-altering drugs shows greater promise than the current schedule of anti-depressants offered by the Veterans’ Administration. We fast-tracked a vaccine for COVID-19, and rightly so. It’s time for that sense of urgency to motivate more help for Veterans with PTSD.” says Dave Barbush, CEO of Once A Soldier.

Indeed, earlier this year, all of the major Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) in the nation expressed their support, as well.

The best scenario for a successful psilocybin treatment plan includes a clinical setting, a trained staff, and a low cost. The best part of the data to date has been that the relief comes fast and is near permanent. Veterans themselves have weighed in on their feelings about it. They like the outcome. Their PTSD is gone. They may not like the process, but they don’t like being dulled by their anti-depressants either.

Mr. Barbush continued. “Our motivation for fast-tracking research and a parallel training of staff to be “trip buddies” comes from hearing the suicide stories from Veterans families. The horror inflicted upon the Veteran during war is passed down to the family in the years before the suicide. The suicide itself also enables the disorder to continue to grow.

Furthermore, our position includes a robust go-to market strategy that educates all levels of soldiers and family about PTSD treatments, screenings and practical advice on life insurance and post-suicide options.”

“Let’s face it, we are losing the war on Veteran suicide at this time. The more effort we’ve put into it to date, the less we’ve seen it working. In fact, the numbers are rising. And those numbers – the branded 22 a day, were probably low to begin with.”


Can One Single Dose Of Magic Mushrooms Be A PTSD-Killer?

Can One Single Dose Of Magic Mushrooms Be A PTSD-Killer?

More Research Findings in Favor of Magic Mushrooms

They didn’t have PTSD and they are not Veterans, but Native American tribes and Mexican tribes have known the secret of how to kill PTSD for years. Small groups online, and in real life, also know. Once A Soldier advocates that it is time to shine a bright and clear light on this hidden gem of a secret. Magic mushrooms grow naturally all around us and has “magical” effects on rewiring your brain. It’s not secret that current PTSD and veteran suicide prevention methods are working. Magic mushrooms are extremely effective in treated those with mental health issues.

Veterans with PTSD who are killing themselves need fast-tracked access and locally-supplied sources. Once A Soldier believes that magic mushrooms, when microdosed, can kill PTSD. Many Veterans agree as our recent blog post confirms.

magic mental health mushroom

Psilocybin — the active component in so-called “magic” mushrooms — has been shown to have profound and long-lasting effects on personality and mood. But the mechanisms behind these effects remain unclear. Researchers at Copenhagen University were interested in whether changes in neuroplasticity in brain regions associated with emotional processing could help explain psilocybin’s antidepressant effects.

Here is the abstract from their published research findings. No, I don’t understand much of it either, that’s why we include the link to the research paper itself, as well as a link to the more consumer-friendly online article. 

“A single dose of psilocybin, a psychedelic and serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) agonist, may be associated with antidepressant effects. The mechanism behind its antidepressive action is unknown but could be linked to increased synaptogenesis and down-regulation of cerebral 5-HT2AR. Here, we investigate if a single psychedelic dose of psilocybin changes synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) and 5-HT2AR density in the pig brain. Twenty-four awake pigs received either 0.08 mg/kg psilocybin or saline intravenously. Twelve pigs (n = 6/intervention) were euthanized one day post-injection, while the remaining twelve pigs were euthanized seven days post-injection (n = 6/intervention). We performed autoradiography on hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) sections with [3H]UCB-J (SV2A), [3H]MDL100907 (5-HT2AR antagonist) and [3H]Cimbi-36 (5-HT2AR agonist). One day post psilocybin injection, we observed 4.42% higher hippocampal SV2A density and lowered hippocampal and PFC 5-HT2AR density (−15.21% to −50.19%). These differences were statistically significant in the hippocampus for all radioligands and in the PFC for [3H]Cimbi-36 only. Seven days post-intervention, there was still significantly higher SV2A density in the hippocampus (+9.24%) and the PFC (+6.10%), whereas there were no longer any differences in 5-HT2AR density. Our findings suggest that psilocybin causes increased persistent synaptogenesis and an acute decrease in 5-HT2AR density, which may play a role in psilocybin’s antidepressive effects.”

What Veterans Say About Magic Mushrooms 

“I actually use CBD gummies to help me sleep and CBD lotion on my shoulder where I was wounded. It works so damn well. The gummies are amazing. I don’t have to take my Prazosin anymore and the massage oils and lotion I use works wonders on my shoulder and my ankle I broke 6 years ago. I’m not a pothead by any means but marijuana as a whole has changed my life and bettered it. I don’t have to eat opiates like I used to and I don’t have to get fucked up to make it work. I do smoke a bit but just when I need a boost to help me eat when I’m having a bad day. It is literally a medicine to me. Fuck big pharma.”

“Mushrooms saved my life.”

“People have this misconception that trips are all about having fun, giggling and laughing, etc. It can be. Personally, I hate tripping. It’s uncomfortable, I feel like shit, I get sick, and it’s terrifying. That being said, I’m able to work some shit out that I otherwise couldn’t have. I only touch that shit when I’m not doing great emotionally and need a reset.”

“I do microdose on occasion. Nothing more than 0.3 of a gram. Maybe once a month. I cannot notice any effects except that my aggression seems to be mitigated. People that use them to trip are just out for a good time and all this negative press of them have severely hampered the acceptance and research of hallucinogens as a medication.”

“Yeah, I did that for a while as well. Really helped with my anxiety, but when I went in on a few grams, I stopped having anxiety and panic attacks completely after the fact.

It’s worth mentioning that that particular experience was terrifying as fuck, extremely uncomfortable, and exhausting and I haven’t touched them since simply because I haven’t needed to.”

“That’s how you know they work and are non-addictive. There’s this great natural organism we can consume to help us, but it’s also illegal. If one dose can cure you and you never feel the need to take it again, where’s the money?”

Psychelics Glossary

Psychedelics, also known as psychedelic drugs, hallucinogens, or hallucinogenic drugs are chemical substances that induce hallucinations and other sensory disturbances.


Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Links for More Information:


PTSD for Beginners by a Beginner

PTSD for Beginners by a Beginner

PTSD for Beginners by a Beginner

The mission of Once a Soldier doesn’t include helping with PTSD. As the founder, I specifically wanted to avoid PTSD because it was, and is, out of my league. There are many other charities and experts who you should turn to. Now, that seems like wishful thinking. Not all suicide soldiers or veteran suicides are PTSD-related, but many are. So I’m confronting this issue sort of head-on and I’m going to start at the beginning. If you’re looking for info on PTSD for beginners, join me in this brief blog and let’s get started.

We will cover symptoms, onset, diagnosis and where to get a screening.

A Google search on the second page found what I needed as a beginner: PTSD for Dummies. Perfect. Here are the highlights from that page, and trust me, we aren’t done with just that as a source.

Let’s start with what they list as the symptoms. As a beginner looking at PTSD, I don’t find these particularly helpful, but here they are:

Intrusive thoughts, emotions, or images: These may include vivid nightmares and/or flashbacks in which you feel as if the event is occurring all over again.

The Beginner in me says: I don’t have vivid nightmares or flashback, but if you have PTSD, I’m going to assume that the subject matter of these is war or combat-centric. If that’s the case, then that’s a big red flag. Here’s another one: was this person just discharged from active duty? Maybe I’m thinking of PTSD all wrong. It first entered my vocabulary when it because of a military issue from troops returning from the Gulf. Maybe my awareness of PTSD needs to widen out to include civilians who are maybe trapped in a horrible marriage, have trauma from childhood or a million other ways that the human psyche can be damaged.

Avoidance and/or numbing: For instance, you may avoid people or things that remind you of your trauma, feel emotionally detached from the people around you, or block out parts of your traumatic experience.

The Beginner in my says: We all want to avoid unpleasantries in our lives. We do many unsavory things to do this, such as working at a job we hate, a spouse we don’t love, or living beyond our means. As far as feeling detached, scroll through the posts and comments on social media and reading between the lines reveals that many people detach from society for a varitey of reason.

So far, this guide is okay, it is, after all, for dummies and not meant to be hyper-detailed.

Hyperarousal: Hyperarousal means being on red alert all the time, being jumpy or easily startled, having panic attacks, being very irritable, and/or being unable to sleep.

The Beginner in my says: Red alert isn’t what I’m on, I’m not jumpy, no panic attacks but I can be one irritable stinker from time to time. Sleep has never been a problem.

The Dummies go on to say that PTSD for Beginners needs to be aware of these symptoms:

You may also experience symptoms including body aches and pains, depression or other mental disorders, or problems with drugs or alcohol.

Okay, these are just flat-out not good and I’ve given up on the rest that follows in their post. The subject headers included how to beat it, truths about recovering, and meds. Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of pills and the opioid addiction we find ourselves fighting needs to stay as far away from PTSD as we can get it. Soldier suicide and veteran suicide don’t need any help from monster opioid.

once a soldier charity helping survivors of veteran suicide


More Detail from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Here’s a second source that digs a little deeper into the onset and symptoms. View this content on their site here. The following is also detailed in what a traumatic event might be, and it’s a lot of information, so I bolded the more basic things a PTSD beginner should know.

PTSD is diagnosed after a person experiences symptoms for at least one month following a traumatic event. However, symptoms may not appear until several months or even years later.

The disorder is characterized by three main types of symptoms:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
  • Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
  • Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered

PTSD Diagnosis criteria that apply to adults, adolescents, and children older than six include those below.

Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation:

  • directly experiencing the traumatic events
  • witnessing, in person, the traumatic events
  • learning that the traumatic events occurred to a close family member or close friend; cases of actual or threatened death must have been violent or accidental
  • experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic events (Examples are first responders collecting human remains; police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse). Note: This does not apply to exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures, unless exposure is work-related.

The presence of one or more of the following:

  • spontaneous or cued recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events (Note: In children repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the traumatic events are expressed.)
  • recurrent distressing dreams in which the content or affect (i.e. feeling) of the dream is related to the events (Note: In children there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.)
  • flashbacks or other dissociative reactions in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic events are recurring (Note: In children trauma-specific reenactment may occur in play.)
  • intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic events
  • physiological reactions to reminders of the traumatic events

Persistent avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic events or of external reminders (i.e., people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations)

Two or more of the following:

  • inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic events (not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs)
  • persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” “The world is completely dangerous”).
  • persistent, distorted blame of self or others about the cause or consequences of the traumatic events
  • persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
  • markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
  • feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
  • persistent inability to experience positive emotions


Two or more of the following marked changes in arousal and reactivity:

  • irritable or aggressive behavior
  • reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • hypervigilance
  • exaggerated startle response
  • problems with concentration
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep

Also, clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning not attributed to the direct physiological effects of medication, drugs, or alcohol or another medical condition, such as traumatic brain injury.


If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, take a simple first test with an online screening tool found here. You can print or save the results and share with your healthcare professional.

Final Word from Once a Soldier: PTSD for Beginners from this source isn’t making it. I get no real picture of the symptoms to look for and even then, the causes may or may not foot back to combat or anything that a veteran can get help with through the VA. I will continue to circle around PTSD for Beginners by a beginner because I owe it to the vets and myself to learn more.