Oregon Live – Opinion Piece: Oregon’s sketchy framework for psilocybin program portends a new implementation disaster

Brian Holoyda

Holoyda is a forensic psychiatrist who evaluates prisoners in the Oregon Department of Corrections and lives in Denver. He recently published a commentary piece on Oregon’s psilocybin program in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

In November 2020, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 109, which legalized the administration of psilocybin – a chemical found in “magic mushrooms” – at supervised, licensed facilities in the state. The associated statute, ORS 475A, explained the rationale for the measure as an effort to combat the state’s mental health and addiction crises, noting Oregon’s high prevalence of mental illness with “one in every five adults in Oregon … coping with a mental health condition.” The implication, offered without evidence, was that psilocybin might help this state of affairs.

Unfortunately, that unsupported assertion is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the state’s ill-informed approach to implementing Measure 109. The program set up by the state allows facilitators with no mental health or medical training to conduct psilocybin sessions, ignores best practices in this emerging therapy and fails to adequately consider the serious risk that clients may face. With psilocybin services now starting to be offered, Oregonians may soon bear the price of the state’s poor implementation of this experimental ballot measure.

Psilocybin is a psychedelic compound capable of fundamentally altering an individual’s conscious experience, affecting one’s emotional, cognitive and perceptual processes in ways that can be splendid, revealing or even transcendent ­ as well as frightening, nerve-racking or terrifying. As part of the so-called “psychedelic renaissance” of the last few decades, there has been a renewed interest in the potential benefits of psilocybin to treat mental health disorders, following a moratorium on research after psychedelics were classified on Schedule I per the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Read  his full opinion piece at….

https://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/2023/08/opinion-oregons-sketchy-framework-for-psilocybin-program-portends-a-new-implementation-disaster.html

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