Psychedelic medicine task force would lay groundwork for therapeutic use in Alaska

Alaska Public Media reports

State senator Forrest Dunbar, D-Anchorage, introduced a bill this legislative session that would create a psychedelic medicine task force. Most psychedelics are illegal at the federal level but research shows that they have therapeutic benefits.

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ast summer,  the FDA released draft guidance for researching psychedelic drugs, acknowledging they show promise for treating mood, anxiety and substance use disorders, with the aim of “supporting future drug applications.”

The bill would set up a year-long task force to look at the role psychedelics could play in addressing Alaska’s mental health crisis. It would examine barriers to psychedelic access, insurance and licensing requirements, and pathways to regulating the medicines in Alaska.

Dunbar introduced the Senate bill because he anticipates the federal government will legalize some psychedelic substances for medical use soon, starting with psilocybin, the main active ingredient in several types of so-called “magic” mushrooms.

“We want Alaska to have a regulatory framework to potentially allow medical providers to use the substances, which had been shown in sort of the early data of the tests to potentially have really positive impacts on people dealing with trauma and with addiction,” Dunbar said.

Psychedelics can dramatically alter mood, perception and cognition but generally aren’t considered addictive.

The synthetic stimulant and psychedelic MDMA goes by street names of “ecstasy” or “molly.” It was researched in the 1970’s and ‘80s as an aid for psychotherapy before the Drug Enforcement Administration banned it in 1985. Recent research has shown that it’s useful for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, which is common in Alaska Native and veteran populations

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Psychedelic medicine task force would lay groundwork for therapeutic use in Alaska

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