Bipartisan Bill Proposes $75M Fund for Psychedelics Research for Military Personnel

Psychedelics are currently experiencing a renaissance that could leave them at the top of the psychiatric industry. Over the past couple of years, research has shown that natural and synthetic psychedelics show potential to treat symptoms of various mental health conditions.

Although treatments for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety already exist, those treatments often aren’t effective, and they rarely offer long-term relief.  This means that people who are in desperate need of mental health treatment, such as military veterans, rarely receive the treatment they need and often end up dealing with their symptoms in other ways.

Congressional lawmakers are looking to change that by providing veterans plagued with mental disorders access to psychedelic treatments. Bipartisan lawmakers recently introduced a bill to invest millions of dollars into studying the medical potential of using psychedelics to treat specific medical conditions in active members of the military.

The resolution, which would create a $75 million fund to support psychedelic research for military personnel, was filed by Representative Dan Crenshaw and has 11 cosponsors. It would require the defense secretary to create a federal grant program to fund phase 2 clinical trials researching ibogaine, psilocybin, 5–MeO–DMT and MDMA. The trials would focus on the effectiveness of the psychedelics against conditions such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

In addition, the program would train clinicians on how to treat active members of the armed forces who have covered conditions with psychedelic treatments.

The psychedelic bill would direct $15 million to the Defense Department each year from 2024 to 2028 to fund the grant program. Surprisingly, researchers would be allowed to use grant funds to study psychedelics even if federal or military statutes classify the substances as controlled substances. This will undoubtedly go a long way toward removing the regulatory barriers that have held back psychedelic research for decades.

Nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and state and federal agencies will be able to apply for the psychedelic grant funds.

If the bill is enacted, the defense secretary would have 180 days to provide Congress with a report detailing the clinics chosen for the grants, the number of armed forces members who took part in the trials and the findings. The defense secretary would also be required to submit such a report to Congress every 180 days after the first report.

Retired Navy Seal and Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions CFO Henry Berkowitz said that measures which expand psychedelic research are crucial for former and current members of the armed forces.

With America’s military service members dealing with exceedingly poor mental health at high rates, we are in desperate need of treatments that are safe, effective and offer long-term relief. Startups such as atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ: ATAI) are executing R&D programs geared at bringing to market psychedelic-based treatments that will offer these patients the relief they need.

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