Michigan lawmakers want the U.S. Congress, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) to make psychedelic research a priority. Policymakers are calling on Congress to prioritize investment in the research of “nontechnology treatment options” such as psychedelics to expand treatment options for psychological trauma in active and retired military service members.
Last week, the Michigan Senate passed a resolution stating that controlled psychedelic clinical trials paired with approaches such as buddy-to-buddy programs, expanded access to service animals and outdoor therapy have “shown promise” as alternative mental-health treatments for veterans. Since House lawmakers advanced the same resolution in June and no gubernatorial action is required, copies of the resolution will be sent to U.S. Senate and House leadership, ranking members and chairs of veteran affairs federal committees and Congressional representatives in Michigan.
Psychedelics are part of the ongoing wave of drug reform that left dozens of states across the United States with either recreational or medical cannabis industries.
Recent advances in psychedelic research have revealed that hallucinogens such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD, ayahuasca, and DMT may be able to treat debilitating mental disorders including PTSD, treatment-resistant depression and even eating disorders. Their purported effectiveness against especially hard-to-treat mental disorders has put psychedelics at the forefront as the next evolution of mental-health treatments.
As veterans tend to suffer from debilitating conditions such as PTSD and depression due to their wartime experiences and often fail to respond to conventional treatments, lawmakers in states such as Michigan are looking to increase access to alternative treatments, including psychedelics.
From 2001 to 2020, the average number of suicides among U.S. military veterans went up from 81.1 to 212.0 per day. Michigan, which has the 11th largest population of veterans in the country (550,000), reportedly lost 882 veterans to suicide between 2016 and 2020. In June, resolution sponsor Representative Jeniffer Conlin issued a press release stressing the importance of providing veterans with the support they need and deserve.
For decades, American veterans have struggled to access proper care for the physical and mental injuries they sustained during war. Research indicates that 11% to 20% of veterans experience PTSD in a given year and more than one-half of all veterans in the country have not received proper diagnosis or treatment for mental-health issues.
Although Michigan still outlaws psychedelics at the state level, the cities of Detroit, Ferndale, Hazel Park and Ann Arbor have decriminalized entheogenic fungi and plant-based psychedelics, including ayahuasca and psilocybin.
The work being done by enterprises such as Compass Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS) is undoubtedly helping to spur awareness about the potential of psychedelics, and we are bound to see more advocacy efforts calling for drug-policy reform at the state and national levels.
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