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Launch of Coalition for Passage of Illinois HB1 – the Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act

A diverse group of advocates, including doctors, researchers, grassroots leaders, patients, and caregivers, agree that entheogens, such as psilocybin, can save lives and provide healing to many suffering from mental health challenges. This diverse coalition, Entheo IL, is proud to work closely with Representative La Shawn Ford in support of HB1, introduced today, to legalize the regulated therapeutic use of entheogens in Illinois. The Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act is designed to create safe, legal, and regulated access to natural entheogenic healing, starting with psilocybin. The regulatory program for natural psilocybin would permit adults to seek supervised entheogenic therapy from a trained facilitator using natural medicines produced and tested at licensed facilities and administered at licensed service centers. “We are living through a global mental health crisis,” says Dr. Rachel Norris, clinician at Chicago ketamine clinic Imagine Healthcare and board member of the Illinois Psychedelic Society, “So what other tools might be in the toolbox?” Dan Carcillo, former Chicago Blackhawks player turned mental health advocate after suffering from concussive traumatic brain injury, sees the answer in entheogens. “After 7 diagnosed concussions, I was dealing with multiple symptoms like headache, insomnia, impulse control and memory issues, depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. When administered in a responsible and intentional way under the care of trained professionals, these medicines have the potential to save lives, as they did mine. Athletes tend to get a lot of attention, but the urgency and healing potential extends so much farther – to millions, such as our veterans and communities impacted by trauma.” Lauren Ellis, a photographer from Chicago, agrees. She was sexually assaulted as a child and began experiencing PTSD and trauma symptoms at just 10 years old. “Over decades, I tried every conventional treatment available – even convulsive electro-shock therapy”, she recalls. When nothing worked, at 29 years old, Lauren attempted suicide. She survived, eventually learning about entheogens. She found, “This medicine didn’t keep me alive: it gave me a life worth fighting for.” For all the promise, advocates understand challenges exist. “Entheogenic drugs are not intrinsically addictive nor are they dangerous to one’s health,” says Richard J. Miller, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “However, their association with the counterculture of the 1970s contributed to both their inclusion in the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 and as well as a great deal of misinformation.” Jean Lacy, Executive Director of Entheo IL, says “There are serious consequences to withholding these tools from people who need them. Education is needed on the efficacy and safety of entheogens, and the CURE Act begins to structure that crucial framework” For example, the bill contains important guardrails to promote safety:

  • There will be no retail sales of the medicines.

  • Medicines purchased for facilitated use at a healing center must be used under supervision, and cannot be purchased for unfacilitated personal use.

  • Facilitators will be licensed by the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (IDFPR) and IDFPR will set qualification, education, and training requirements, develop an oversight process, professional responsibility standards, continuing education requirements, and a complaint and disciplinary process.

"This bill is essential to building harm reduction and education in a climate of increasing psychedelic use as the public becomes aware of the potential benefits being found in research. Ensuring that psilocybin services can be rolled out in a manner accessible for all Illinoisans is also key to our vision," says Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, clinical psychologist, and cofounder and director of Sana Healing Collective, a non-profit clinic in Chicago providing ketamine-assisted therapy services. Entheo IL is a registered 501(c)(6) with a mission to represent the stakeholders and supporters of implementing a psilocybin services program; collaborate to shape the development of policy; educate the public; and respond to demands for greater access to entheogens. We advocate for maintaining a diverse psychedelic ecosystem in our state, focusing on equity and inclusion, job creation, community investment, and the responsible use of psychedelic substances. For more information, please visit https://www.entheoil.org

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