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Bill aims to legalize psychedelic-assisted therapy in California

After a failed attempt last year to decriminalize a short list of psychedelic drugs, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) made California the third state to legalize psychedelic-assisted therapy for adults. is reintroducing a bill to make it a state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a similar bill in October. Request to state legislators Before decriminalizing possession of these drugs, first take steps toward creating regulated treatment guidelines.

“This was a very thoughtful veto message,” said Weiner, who on Tuesday morning introduced a new bill that takes a more clinical approach to expanding access to psychedelic use. It is expected to be.

If passed, California would join Oregon and Colorado, which have already voted to legalize psychedelic-assisted therapy.

This legislation is unique in that for the first time it creates a grant process through the Governor's Office of Community Partnerships and Strategic Communications to support public health education about psychedelics. The bill would legalize supervised treatment access for adults 21 and older for certain substances, including psilocybin and psilocin, also known as “magic mushrooms.” Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is the active ingredient in ayahuasca. MDMA; and mescaline. Does not contain peyote.

Under the law, called the Regulated Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Act, a state regulatory program would be in place within two years at the earliest, allowing adults to use psychedelics under the supervision and guidance of a licensed psychedelic therapist.

“I want California to be on the cutting edge when it comes to psychedelic access and … public education and safety for people seeking treatment,” Wiener told reporters Monday.

The bill would establish a Governor-appointed Professional Oversight Board and a Professional Licensing Board for Psychedelic Therapy Facilitators to develop regulatory oversight and clinical testing.

Those seeking psychedelic therapy must undergo safety testing, health evaluations, and follow-up monitoring.

The bill's sponsor, the Florida-based nonprofit Heroic Hearts Project, is an advocacy group that helps veterans overcome post-traumatic stress disorder through the use of psychedelic drugs. The organization also facilitates travel for veterans. seek psychedelic therapy In countries where this practice is legal, such as Mexico.

Veteran groups and researchers say the use of psilocybin could spur a therapeutic breakthrough, especially for people suffering from PTSD who have not seen improvement with traditional drug treatments. .

according to report According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is estimated that 17 veterans commit suicide every day. In 2020, an astonishing 6,146 veterans took their own lives, even though suicide rates were on the decline. This was more than 20 years ago.

Still, Stanford University researcher Anna Lembke worries that psychedelic use will become legal and psychedelic therapy will fall into the hands of non-medical professionals.

“Medical professionals who prescribe and administer [medications] To earn that privilege, you have to go through years of medical training, residency, and physician certification,” she told the Times.

Mr. Lembke is a co-author of the following books: recent research The study found that between 2016 and 2022, California saw a 54% increase in psychedelic drug-related emergency department visits and a 55% increase in hospitalizations. It stressed that “increased access” could result in “increased harm to individuals and groups.”

Some concerned parents, like Northern California-based public health activist Laurie Dubin, say “just talking about psychedelics diminishes awareness of the harm.”

Dubin is concerned about the “gray market” known as the unauthorized purchase of hallucinogen-laced chocolate bars, gummies and e-cigarettes by young people, and said that unless the bill also includes preventive education for youth, the bill will not be effective. tend to be against.

In Oregon, nearly 700 people sought psychedelic treatment in the first six months of its introduction, said Dr. Brian Anderson, a psychiatrist and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. The waiting list is in the thousands, many of them from out of state.

Weiner said he still supports a future in which psychedelics are decriminalized in California, and even noted that the governor's veto message hints at that. But he said the priority right now is to get a supervised treatment model.

Californians could begin treatment by 2027 if the law is signed and procedures such as licensing, medications and locations are approved.

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