A Connecticut legislative committee on Friday approved a bill that would set the state up to provide certain patients with access to psychedelic-assisted treatment with substances like MDMA and psilocybin.
Before the vote, several members of the joint Public Health Committee remarked on the compelling testimony of top military officials, advocates and scientists who spoke about their experiences and the potential impact of the reform at a hearing earlier this week.
The legislation was approved on a noncontroversial basis as part of the panel’s consent calendar. It now advances to floor consideration.
The measure, HB 5396, would create psychedelic treatment centers in the state, pending approval of the substances by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under its expanded access program for investigational new drugs.
Rep. Michelle Cook (D) explained her support for the policy change, citing the “compassionate testimony that we had the other day from so many folks.”
“I think that by sitting back and not doing something, as we heard the other day, is costing lives day after day after day,” the lawmaker said. “Doing nothing I think would be criminal in this regard.”
Rep. Kathy Kennedy (R) echoed her colleague’s point, saying that “the testimony that we heard was compelling, it was compassionate, it was emotional and we owe something to our veterans who have served our country and many others that would benefit from this treatment.”
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While the legislation would not legalize the psychedelics, it would set up a regulatory infrastructure to enable Connecticut to play a leading role in providing access to this alternative treatment option as federal agencies continue to fund and facilitate clinical trials.
Psychedelic therapy would be specifically provided and funded for military veterans, retired first responders, health care workers and any person from a “historically underserved community, and who has a serious or life-threatening mental or behavioral health disorder and without access to effective mental or behavioral health medication.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed a separate bill last year that includes language requiring the state to carry out a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms. A …….