Biden Administration weighs approving psychedelics for therapies: report

Biden Administration weighs approving psychedelics for therapies: report
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From Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, U.S. presidential administrations of the past went after psychedelic drugs with a vengeance as part of the War on Drugs. But according to Mattha Busby, a reporter for The Intercept, the Biden Administration is seriously rethinking that policy. According to a newly revealed letter that Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, sent to Rep. Madeline Dean of Pennsylvania on May 13, the Biden Administration “anticipates” that the drugs MDMA and psilocybin will be approved by regulators for use in therapies.

“The May correspondence, not shared publicly until now, is the clearest indication yet that top officials are preparing for the approval of psychedelic drugs — demonized for decades after former President Richard Nixon sought means to attack the anti-Vietnam War counterculture in the late 1960s — which was arguably unthinkable even five years ago,” Busby reports. “But as evidence grows of the healing potential of certain controlled substances, including many hallucinogens, the War on Drugs in the U.S. is steadily being wound down.”

Busby continues, “Late Friday, the Drug Enforcement Agency dropped plans to schedule several DMT analogues after facing serious opposition, including a legal threat from companies Mindstate, Tactogen, and Panacea Plant Sciences. The move followed Thursday’s introduction of a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., to force the DEA to stop barring terminally ill patients from trying controlled drugs which have passed early trials.

READ MORE: The war on drugs is a preview of life without reproductive freedom: columnist

On July 21, Booker tweeted, “Schedule I drugs—MDMA and psilocybin—show exceptional promise in treating a variety of mental health conditions.”

Delphin-Rittmon, according to Busby, told Dean that “too many Americans are suffering from mental health and substance use issues, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” And she added that “we must explore the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapies to address this crisis.”

Dean discussed psychedelic therapies with The Intercept, telling the publication, “About 300 people a day (die) from drug overdoses in this country. I call it a jetliner of souls every single day. We know the toll the loss of our loved ones takes on their immediate family and upon entire communities. My son Harry is now nine years, seven months into recovery for opioid addiction. This is a heart-wrenching crisis, and it’s time for bold, innovative solutions to save the lives of our children…. When you hear compelling testimonies from a retired army brigadier general and a retired three-star Marine Corps lieutenant general about the lives that have been saved by providing access to psychedelic-assisted therapy, it is impossible that we take no action.”

READ MORE: War on Drugs opponents applaud Biden for pardons or commutations of nonviolent offenders

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