A ‘tidal wave’ in psychology: Advocates call on lawmakers to approve psilocybin treatment

Mark Keller still uses his “Slider” call sign, even though he retired from the Navy in 2012.

Keller excelled in his 20 years as a naval flight officer. But when he retired, the trauma of an incident in 2005, when he accidentally killed 12 innocent people, began to resurface, he said.

Like many veterans, Keller has? Post-traumatic stress disorder. He sought help first from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which he called “incompetent”, and then from private healthcare providers, who prescribed him Ativan, a sedative.

Ativan, Keller said, was “not the right answer”; he became addicted.

“I lost my family. I lost my business. I was once homeless at one point,” Keller said. “And I was a drug addict.”

And, says Keller, it wasn’t healing. While coming out of his addiction, he said he heard from a friend about veterans who received psilocybin treatment for PTSD in Peru. Keller traveled to Peru and received the treatment himself, which he described as “profound”.

“I found a peace that I had never known before,” Keller said. “I felt the love of God.”

Keller got involved with No Fallen Heroes, a documentary that advocates psychedelic treatment for veterans. He shared his story Wednesday at a Capitol press conference hosted by the Center for Psychedelic Education and reason to hopewho advocate for access to psychedelic therapy.

“Why do we go away and fight these wars for our country,” Keller asked, “and come back with these wounds, and there’s nothing for us?”

Can magic mushrooms help fight mental illness? A bipartisan group of Pennsylvania lawmakers think so.

Rep. Tracy Pennycuick, R-Montgomery, asked the same question. With his bill to start psilocybin trials, a drug found in “magic mushrooms” that has psychedelic effects, she hopes to make Pennsylvania the latest state to increase access to psychedelic mental health treatments. But it is unclear whether the bill will pass.

Psilocybin is one of many psychedelic mental health treatments, including ketamine and MDMA, that researchers have recently discovered to have potential as mental health treatments. Studies suggest that psilocybin may be able to treat depression, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance use disorder, among others.

Pennycuick is a veteran and has suffered from PTSD since 2012 due to a traumatic experience when she was an Army helicopter pilot. She introduced the bill because she was frustrated with the lack of progress in PTSD treatments and saw promise in psilocybin.

“Right now, veterans with PTSD have a mirage of opportunity. Yoga, service dogs, warrior writing, warrior photography,” Pennycuick said. because we are losing 20 veterans a day.”

But Pennycuick’s bill has been sitting on the House Health Committee since 2021.]He can’t walk out of the committee until the committee chair, Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, clears it. And in March, Rapp seemed to disagree with the bill.

Pennycuick’s invoice, if successful, would create clinical trials for psilocybin treatment. This treatment would give priority to veterans and retired first responders and their family members.

Bills legalizing psilocybin therapy through trials and research have become quite common in state legislatures. The bill in the House would look like the one that recently spent in Connecticutwhich the Center for Psychedelic Education also supported. Texas passed a law create psychedelic medicine studies for veterans last year.

The Maryland legislature passed a bill funding psilocybin treatment for veterans, but the governor has yet to pass it. Oklahoma The House of Representatives has passed a bill for psilocybin research, but it is still awaiting a vote in the Senate.

Oregon legalized psilocybin by referendum in 2020 and the program will be implemented in 2023.

However, it is more common for psilocybin bills to gain momentum but not make it out of the legislature, such as in Pennsylvania. It happened in Washington and Maineamong other states.

Sometimes bills to legalize medical psilocybin would also decriminalize it for recreational use. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Missouri have bills in their legislatures to that effect; The New Hampshire bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate, and the rest of the bills are stalled in committee.

Finally, some states are not yet ready to legalize psilocybin, but have passed – or are in the process of passing – legislation to explore whether or how they should legalize it. This is the case in Hawaii, Utah, Washingtonand Georgia.

The Center for Psychedelic Education said it would advocate for bills like Pennycuick’s in other states, including Florida.

Jesse Gould, a veteran who said psilocybin “saved [his] life,” said the treatment would be a “tidal wave” through psychology.

“You can see history in the making and you have a choice which side of history you want to stand on. And so you can either make the hard choice and support veterans right now,” Gould said, “ or you can wait five years when it’s easy, and everyone’s already on that vote, and your choice doesn’t really have that effect.”

“We always hear politicians say, ‘Hey, I support veterans,'” Gould said. “Now is your chance to show it. And psychedelic modalities are the best way for you to support the troops.

About Margie Peters

Check Also

Psychedelic drug ‘magic mushroom’ can ease some depression

(AP) – The psychedelic chemical in “magic mushrooms” may ease depression in some hard-to-treat patients, …