A bill to allow psychedelic therapies in Washington state has stalled, but lawmakers are considering legislation to allow military veterans and first responders to access a pilot program for the treatment, the Seattle Times reports. The pilot program bill has passed the Senate and last week was approved by the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness.
Under the measure, pilot program participants would have to be 21 and older, and have experienced substance use disorder, depression or anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. They would also have to pass an assessment before being accepted into the program, the report says.
The measure would also create three separate collaborations between state agencies: one would be a Psilocybin Advisory Board through the Department of Health that would advise and share recommendations with the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board in addition to the state Department of Agriculture. A separate work group among those agencies would develop a regulatory framework for psychedelic therapies.
In an email to state Sen. Jesse Salomon (D), the original bill’s sponsor, in early February, Samantha Pskowski, the governor’s policy adviser for public health, said the bill creating a psychedelic therapy program “would create a system for regulation and use of psilocybin that is not supported by the available scientific and medical evidence.” State officials contend that psychedelic therapy research is limited, and the original bill puts the “health and safety of Washingtonians at risk.”
During testimony on the proposal, Dr. Anthony Back, a University of Washington researcher who is working on a trial about psychedelic-assisted therapies’ ability to support health care workers with burnout, said he thinks “waiting for three years or waiting for more years, is not doing justice to the mental health crisis” that he is “seeing now.”
If the bill is approved, the pilot program would need to be implemented no later than January 1, 2025. (Full Story)