The Oregon Health authority just issued its first state licensed psilocybin service center. Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic chemical in certain mushrooms. The Oregon law allows anyone 21 or older to consume these intoxicating substances with little regulation. Although passed under the guise of health and wellness, there is no referral from a healthcare provider needed. One only needs to participate in a preparation session and then you are free to consume during an administration session with a licensed facilitator. There is no required follow up, only optional integration sessions where you can access resources and peer support.
Licensed facilitators are not required to be any type of healthcare provider or have prior healthcare experience. The only requirements are that you must be at least 21 years of age, have a high school diploma or equivalent, be an Oregon resident for the past two years, pass a criminal background check (note- prior possession of a controlled substance not considered under certain conditions), complete a training program, score at least 75% on the exam, pay $150 application fee, and pay an annual fee of $2,000 (reduced for certain demographics).
While Oregon and the rest of the nation are experiencing what many are calling a mental health crisis, it is extremely concerning that increasing access and availability to hallucinogens is the priority. Even the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board Rapid Evidence Review and Recommendations in 2021 noted that psilocybin in phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials may reduce depression and anxiety, however, effects such as “…nausea, vomiting, headache, increases in heart rate, increases in blood pressure, QT interval prolongation, grief, anxiety, fear, feelings of isolation, preoccupation with death, transient thought disorder, and transient paranoia may occur…”
The people of Oregon deserve better. This drug policy experiment is going to have negative societal costs at a time when policy makers should be investing in services that create better individual and community health.