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Missouri Legislator Introduces Psilocybin Bill

Tony Lovasco (Missouri Rep.) introduced House Bill 869, Jan. 18, that would allow for psilocybin Therapy. It is a modified version of a bill he introduced in 2022. 

According to the proposed bill, patients would be able to use psilocybin in treatment of conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and those with mental illness. The bill would cover those who’ve had treatment for other ailments.

Lovasco described his bill as “a first step to addressing pervasive mental health crises that affect every sector of our society and economy by creating access to clinically validated therapies,” Lovasco stated in a press release. “I am especially encouraged at clinical research suggesting psilocybin may be a tool to address our opiate addiction crisis.”

HB 869 would give the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the responsibility for regulating psilocybin treatment. It also allows the possibility of opening the treatment to others qualifying conditions. Anyone would be able to petition the DHSS to include a new condition that “benefits persons with the proposed condition in a manner equal to or greater than the benefit.”

Lovasco’s previous iteration of the bill, House Bill 2850, was introduced on March 1, 2022. Although it was presented to the House Health and Mental Health Policy Committee for a hearing, it did not progress beyond that. Original text included mescaline (and ibogaine) but has since been deleted.

The HB-869 law now permits treatment options to grow if psilocybin has been rescheduled in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act. It would be possible for any Missourian to apply to become a patient if rescheduling is done.

Although it’s uncertain what the fate of HB-869 will be, the topic of psilocybin has been ramping up in the U.S. and beyond.

On September 20, 2022, Rahul Kapur, a psychiatrist, and other advocates spoke to the Missouri House Interim Committee on Veterans Mental Health and Suicide. “We, as fellow human beings and fellow Americans, owe our fellow countrymen and women our unqualified help to heal their mind, body and spirit—to honor their sacrifices in their family sacrifices,” Kapur said. “We have an obligation to keep exploring and providing them with any resources we have at our disposal. And, in my opinion, psychedelics are a key resource in this fight.”

Missouri Rep. Michael Davis submitted legislation earlier this month to amend the Right to Try Act. This would permit patients to use LSD, ibogaine or psilocybin as treatment. “There is emerging interest and significant clinical research supporting the safety and efficacy of psychedelic drugs for PTSD, traumatic injury therapy and numerous other conditions,” Davis said in a press statement. “Because the [Food and Drug Administration] has not taken action to reschedule these drugs and make them generally available, I am working to make these drugs available through Missouri’s investigational drug access statute.”

Missouri is not the only state that wants to allow access to psychedelic medication. Two years after November 2020 voters approved the Oregon Health Authority’s Psilocybin Services Act in November 2022, rules were finalized by the Oregon Health Authority for their Psilocybin Services Act.

Research continued on psilocybin’s effectiveness as a treatment for medical conditions. Canada was the home for the first North American takehome psilocybin study in November 2022. A double-blind study published in November in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that severe depression can be treated with psilocybin. An Australian study recently published findings on how psilocybin can ease the stress of MRIs, with one patient describing the experience as “magical.”