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Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Sept. 27, 2023

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Letter: Rivers supports psilocybin therapy


Over half a million veterans call Washington home. Many struggle with mental health or substance abuse disorders, with no relief from medication — only terrible side effects. Some have lost more friends and colleagues to suicide than enemy fire.

Fortunately, early research by medical universities like Johns Hopkins, UCLA and New York University shows psilocybin therapy can combat depression and anxiety that resist other treatments. With guidance from a counselor or practitioner, patients begin seeing life through a different lens, reshaping harmful memories and breaking through painful mental barriers.

Psilocybin therapy recently received FDA “breakthrough treatment” status for treatment-resistant depression. This is prompting more research and clinical studies, including at the University of Washington’s Center for Novel Therapeutics in Addiction Psychiatry.

Indigenous communities have used psilocybin in traditional medicine for millennia. Funding from the nonprofit, veteran-established Heroic Hearts Project has helped veterans obtain treatment from Indigenous practitioners throughout Latin and South America.

This treatment should be more accessible. In 2023, Washington legislators can follow Oregon and Colorado by enabling veterans and other adults to seek state-tested, state-certified, and state-licensed psilocybin therapy, in a controlled environment. A state-regulated system of psilocybin facilitation centers can safely offer new treatments our veterans and neighbors desperately need.

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