VA Official Talks Need For Psychedelic Research And Administrative Guidance To Protect Veterans Who Use Substances Like Psilocybin

VA Official Talks Need For Psychedelic Research And Administrative Guidance To Protect Veterans Who Use Substances Like Psilocybin
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A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official says the agency is keeping a “very close eye” on psychedelics research and policy amid the growing reform movement, and that includes exploring issuing new guidance to ensure that veterans are protected from losing their federal benefits over the use of substances like psilocybin. Ilse Wiechers, deputy executive director of VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, provided insights into the department’s thinking on psychedelics during a webinar hosted by the RAND Corporation on Thursday. An Oregon regulator and veterans advocate also joined the conversation. VA has been “working together on thoughtful plans around how to move things forward in terms of both our policy and ongoing research” on psychedelics, Wiechers said, adding that officials are “having meetings with stakeholders, both internal and external, including some of the agencies that are funding psychedelic research at this time.” While the department isn’t directly funding clinical trials into entheogenic plants and fungi right now, the VA official pointed out that it is recruiting for future studies and actively hosting research projects on the substances on its campuses. It has also been funding and promoting studies into other “innovative treatments” like ketamine and cannabinoids. “I think psychedelics comes next, following some of the work we’ve been doing in those areas prior to now,” she said. In the interim, Wiechers said it’s important to act carefully when it comes to veterans who are using, or plan to use, psychedelics as part of their own treatment. As a general rule, VA would discourage experimental use outside of a clinical trial, but she said the relationship between the agency’s doctors and patients must be preserved in a way that doesn’t deter people from being honest about their experiences. That includes “whether they’re engaging in this recreationally or…

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Source : VA Official Talks Need For Psychedelic Research And Administrative Guidance To Protect Veterans Who Use Substances Like Psilocybin

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