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Summers calls for more research into possible treatments for PTSD, mental health disorders

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Today, members of the Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services Interim Committee on testimony from several health care professionals about the possibility of treating mental health disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with safe doses of substances frequently used for recreational use.

Ongoing research is examining the effectiveness of psilocybin mushrooms, a hallucinogenic, to treat ailments including PTSD and depression. Earlier this year, the legal use of hallucinogenic mushrooms began in Oregon to treat individuals with mental health disorders.

State Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) issued the following statement following the committee hearing:

“I’m very intrigued by what we’ve heard today about the possible use of psilocybin to help Hoosiers struggling with a myriad health disorders. For too long, the Republican supermajority here in Indiana have blocked any efforts to legalize – or at least decriminalize – cannabis, which is proven to help treat  individuals living with diseases ranging from PTSD to Parkinson’s Disease to cancer. If scientists are able to prove that psilocybin is effective at treating mental health disorders and help us prevent Hoosiers from dying by suicide, we as legislators have an obligation to consider legalizing a program similar to that in Oregon to help our constituents. Further, if we’re going to consider allowing psilocybin treatments, it’s beyond time Indiana joins the 38 other states with a medicinal cannabis program.

“As health care professionals explained to us today, treatment involving psilocybin is highly regulated and only occurs in controlled settings in a health care facility. I look forward to learning more about what a program would look like in Indiana and the possible benefits, as well as any concerns brought to us by health care professionals.

“It’s a tragic truth that more than 1,000 Hoosiers have died by suicide every year since 2016. In the year since the national launch of the 988 hotline – a service for those in the midst of mental health crises – Indiana has led the country in the percentage of calls for the hotline. The legislature can no longer ignore the vast struggles our constituents are living with. While we continue to assess the effectiveness of psilocybin in treating mental health concerns, I remain committed to keeping an open mind about any safe treatments that can improve the quality of life for Hoosiers and prevent as many people as possible from taking their own lives.”

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