The Missouri House last week approved a measure that would require the state to conduct studies on psilocybin to treat depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, or use as part of end-of-life care, the Missouri Independent reports.
This bill requires the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to provide more than $2 million in grants for the research, subject to lawmakers approving the appropriation. The state would collaborate on the study with a Missouri university hospital or medical center operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Missouri.
In June, Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, wrote to U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) that federal Food and Drug Administration approval of psilocybin to treat depression was likely within the next two years, the report says. However, state Rep. Tony Lovasco (R), who has previously sponsored similar legislation, told the Independent that two years is a long time to wait.
“The folks that are coming back from war, that are in desperate need of care, a lot of them aren’t going to be around in three years. We’ve got, what 20-something veterans per day committing suicide? That’s a tremendous amount of loss while we wait for the government to do some paperwork.” — Lovasco to the Independent
Suicide rates in Missouri are about 25% higher than the national average, the report says, and research suggests psychedelic therapies, such as psilocybin, can be efficacious in treating conditions that may cause individuals to consider committing suicide.
State Rep. Aaron McMullen (R), a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, said during the debate that “Substance abuse and suicide are escalating in the veterans community.”
“While psilocybin is not a panacea for every issue,” he said, “it represents a first true scientifically-validated hope that we have to address this crisis.”
The legislation still requires approval from the Senate and governor before becoming law.
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