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Federal legislation would support psychedelic therapy treatment for veterans suffering from PTSD

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Congress could legalize psychedelic treatments for veterans. The plan looks like a policy Oklahoma considered this year. The bipartisan proposal would let the Pentagon research therapies using psilocybin mushrooms and other compounds.

The U.S. House advanced the measures last week, adding them to the major military funding package in the works. The therapies are intended to help patients essentially rewire their brain chemistry to process traumatic events and addiction differently.

The two members pitching the plan come from opposite ends of the political spectrum — progressive New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and conservative Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw.

"That may come as a shock to many, and I say, 'Good.' Because, to be frank, we need new ideas because it seems we are losing the battle with veteran suicide," said Crenshaw.

He says they’re running into the same issues Oklahoma lawmakers did this year.

"Many hear the word 'psychedelics,' and they think, 'acid trips from the '60s,'" said Crenshaw.

Oklahoma nearly passed similar legislation this spring. The bill would have allowed the state’s universities and research facilities to conduct clinical trials. House members passed the bill, but the Senate didn’t vote on it.

Catherine Sweeney was StateImpact Oklahoma's health reporter from 2020 to 2023.
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