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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: July 26, 2021 12:18 PM
From: Representative Tracy Pennycuick and Rep. Jennifer O'Mara
To: All House members
Subject: REVISED - Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act

In the near future, we will be introducing the attached legislation authorizing clinical study of the efficacy and cost/benefit optimization of psilocybin-assisted therapy in the treatment of PTSD, traumatic brain injury and various mental health conditions, with prioritization of funding and treatment for veterans, first responders, and their families.
Total U.S. Federal and State government spending on traditional research and treatment for mental health and substance abuse likely exceeded $1 trillion from 2010-2019, but this did not stop the annual deaths of despair (including suicide, alcohol, and drug-related deaths) from climbing by more than 50 percent during the same period, from around 94,000 per year to almost 150,000 per year. That is 150 more deaths of despair every day. Our veterans have been particularly burdened by the ongoing mental health crisis, with the nationwide suicide rate of veterans 1.5 times that of non-veteran adults, and an estimated ~20 veterans every day dying by suicide. 
It is the duty of the Commonwealth to protect the health of its residents and to determine and employ the most efficient and practical means for the prevention and suppression of disease. As traditional treatment has proven inadequate at both the individual and public health level, the Commonwealth has a responsibility to research alternative options.
A growing body of research provides a reason for hope that psilocybin, administered in a controlled setting, will be the most effective tool at our disposal to combat the suicide, opioid, and overall mental health crisis burdening the Commonwealth. Indeed, studies conducted by world renowned medical institutions indicate that psilocybin has shown efficacy, tolerability, and safety in the treatment of conditions including but not limited to addiction, depression, anxiety disorders, and end-of-life psychological distress. The United States Food and Drug Administration, based on the success of these studies, has granted a “Breakthrough Therapy” designation for use of psilocybin to treat depression, meaning it demonstrates substantial improvement over available treatments.
Given the broad range of conditions and symptoms for which psilocybin has proven highly safe and effective, the state of Texas recently passed a law (HB 1802) to study the efficacy of psilocybin to treat PTSD in veterans. However, despite the promise this treatment shows, federal law threatens to derail the potential public health benefit psilocybin-assisted therapy may provide by severely restricting the supply of psilocybin and driving up its costs via hyper-regulation.  
This legislation will thus authorize limited cultivation of psilocybin under the authority of state law for the purposes of conducting the more cost-efficient clinical studies described under this Act, outside the traditional clinical trial phases and the federal regulatory system.
Please join us in cosponsoring this legislation, thank you.

Introduced as HB1959