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Washington State continues to be a forward-thinker when it comes to the decriminalization and legalization of psychedelics. Their newest bipartisan bill will push this agenda by creating a framework for mental health providers to offer psilocybin-assisted therapy to military veterans and first responders battling mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and more.
Stipulations of the New Bill
This new bill expands on the limited psychedelic pilot program started by the state last year. It gives nonprofit healthcare providers a lot of freedom when assisting veterans and first responders, which includes firefighters, law enforcement officers, coroners, and emergency medical practitioners.
Participants must be 21 or older and fall into one of the above categories. Additionally, clients must have safe transportation, receive a prior screening to determine if they have any conflicting mental health issues like bipolar disorder or allergies, and attend post-session integration appointments. People with personality disorders would be required to attend more integration sessions and get counseling from a licensed mental health provider.
One bonus of the new bill is that nonprofits can choose to provide these services for free or low costs, which could significantly improve people’s accessibility to care.
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Benefits of Psilocybin Therapy
Over recent years, the mental health community has increasingly focused on psilocybin, the psychedelic component found in magic mushrooms. More than 130 studies are currently underway to determine exactly how psilocybin works within the brain to benefit mental health.
So far, it has proven efficacy in helping with treatment-resistant depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, and PTSD. Researchers are investigating its potential as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, smoking cessation, and more.
When the bill passes, Washington will join the ranks of states like Colorado and Oregon in legalizing psychedelic-assisted therapy services. While not guaranteed for everyone, these services hold tremendous potential for individuals untouched by traditional methods to seek relief from symptoms of mental illness and trauma.
It’s uncertain exactly when the psilocybin therapy bill will take effect, but Senators Jesse Salomon (D) and Ann Rivers (R) are sponsoring it in hopes of passing it this year.