Reforming Regulation to Promote Medical Use of Psychedelic Drugs

Every day, millions of Americans struggle with mental illness and opioid addiction. More than 6 percent of adults suffer from depression, and about 1 percent have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a condition associated with anxiety. Meanwhile, the opioid crisis has become so pressing that President Donald J. Trump declared it a public health emergency. Psychedelic drugs may alleviate mental illness and substance abuse patients’ symptoms, according to a paper by Mason Marks, a fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. He observes that psychedelics may help because many patients do not benefit from existing treatments. But federal agencies—like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)—strictly regulate psychedelics. According to Marks, these regulations block scientists and doctors from studying the drugs and bar patients from reaping whatever healing…

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