WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers pushed to add a provision in the defense bill that would allow for research on psychedelics to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Psychedelics have shown so much promise,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said.
“There’s a realization that these therapies are working,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said.
Friday, Ocasio-Cortez and Crenshaw worked together to authorize medical research of psychedelic drug therapies in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.
“To help members of our armed forces suffering from PTSD,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “As well as helping thousands of survivors of sexual assault, trauma, violence, and beyond.”
Said Crenshaw: “There’s a lot of people in our country that could use effective treatments that are feeling hopeless right now.”
Currently, the U.S. government classifies psychedelics in the same category as heroin and meth, but health experts say they deserve a second look.
“They’re a major advance over the current psychotherapies and medications that are available for PTSD,” National Institute of Mental Health Director Dr. Joshua Gordon said.
Gordon said the current treatments for PTSD don’t work for everyone.
“That’s why we struggle so much in treating PTSD amongst veterans and the general public,” Gordon said. “So having another way that we can help people with PTSD would really be a game-changer.”
With those potential benefits, Ocasio-Cortez and Crenshaw now hope their provision makes it into the bill’s final version expected to head to President Biden’s desk later this year.