Psychedelics could be ‘mental health fix we’ve been looking for,’ says state lawmaker

Jan 26, 2022, 12:55 PM
Psychedelics, mushrooms...
(kooikkari, Flickr Creative Commons)
(kooikkari, Flickr Creative Commons)

Could Washington become the latest state to relax restrictions on the use of psychedelics? That’s what state Sen. Jesse Salomon is hoping to do with his newly-proposed bill this session.

Seattle bid to decriminalize psychedelics could have ‘profound’ effect

SB 5660 would allow for the use of psilocybin — commonly found in magic mushrooms — for therapeutic uses, providing what Salomon says could be a crucial mental health resource.

“It has shown a lot of promise through FDA-approved John Hopkins University studies and many other studies in terms of addiction recovery, and healing depression and anxiety,” he told KIRO Newsradio’s Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin.

“The first study was people with terminal illness who couldn’t get over the fact that they were going to die, and had tried all other mental health avenues to deal with that anxiety and depression,” he continued. “They were able to ease their symptoms through this process.”

Other studies have yielded similarly positive results related to addiction treatment. In 2016, 10 patients dealing with alcoholism ingested psilocybin, and after 10 weeks, they experienced a 50% reduction in alcohol use. A separate 2014 study out of Johns Hopkins University administered psilocybin treatments to 15 smokers — after six months, 12 of the 15 had ceased smoking altogether.

Sen. Salomon also sees potential benefits for those who’ve been struggling with their mental health over the course of the pandemic.

City council working on steps to decriminalize psychedelics

“This is the mental health fix that we’ve been looking for,” he posited. “It is something that works for a lot of people who have not been successful in all other medical and mental health treatments, and with COVID driving up mental health problems, this is actually exactly what we need to give people an additional avenue to heal.”

He also clarifies that “this is not the same as marijuana legalization,” detailing how people would still need to work with service centers to go over their medical concerns and mental health history in order to access psilocybin treatments.

“I have no intention in this bill to just have people go and buy it from a store,” he clarified. “This is integrated with mental health or self development.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Psychedelics could be ‘mental health fix we’ve been looking for,’ says state lawmaker