A majority – 61% – of registered voters in the U.S. back legalizing psychedelics for therapeutic use, according to the inaugural University of California, Berkeley Psychedelics Survey. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed supported obtaining Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for psychedelics by prescription.
A supermajority of respondents, 78%, backed making it easier for researchers to study psychedelic substances, while nearly half of those polled, 49%, supported removing criminal penalties for personal use and possession, and 44% supported allowing psychedelic use for spiritual and religious use.
Of the 61% who supported allowing therapeutic use of psychedelics, 63% said psychedelics are not “something for people like me,” 56% said psychedelics are not “something I am interested in learning more about,” while 47% said that psychedelics are not “good for society.”
Among those who agreed with the decriminalization of the substances, 57% said psychedelics were not for them, 39% were uninterested in learning more, and 41% said psychedelics were “not good for society.”
Just over half of respondents (51%) said they had a “first-degree” connection to psychedelic use – either they or someone close to them had used a psychedelic drug.
“Respondents with awareness and a first-degree connection to psychedelics are also more likely to support policy reforms, have positive perceptions of psychedelics, and trust in almost all sources of psychedelics information (with the exception of law enforcement). With the exception of research expansion, no psychedelic policy reform is majority-supported by voters who have no first-degree connection to use.” — UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics Unveils Results of the First-Ever Berkeley Psychedelics Survey, July 12, 2023
The poll found that 47% of voters have heard something about psychedelics recently, with 48% of those saying that they have heard about psychedelics’ use for mental health treatments. Black people were least likely to have heard something about psychedelics recently (29%) and had a much lower first-degree connection to psychedelics use (26%) than other groups.
Among those polled, liberal voters backed legalized therapeutic access to psychedelics by a huge margin, 80%, compared to 66% of moderates and 45% of conservatives. The majority of voters polled were comfortable with psychedelic therapy being used to treat those suffering from terminal illnesses (80%), veterans (69%), and people suffering from treatment-resistant depression and anxiety (67%); fewer were comfortable with open access to psychedelic therapy for anyone over the age of 21 (44%), or the use of psychedelic therapy to treat addiction (45%).
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