The Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board (OPAB), which is working on establishing the first-ever legal framework for psilocybin-assisted therapy in the United States, has partnered with a Harvard Law School research initiative to produce their next comprehensive report.
The Oregon board, in collaboration with the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR) at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School will together produce a report on Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of psilocybin services.
Oregon entered a two-year programme to develop a regulatory framework on January 1, 2021 after Oregonians voted in favour of ballot Measure 109 last November, legalizing psilocybin for medical use. Following that, Gov. Kate Brown appointed the board in March to carve out the administrative system for the state’s psilocybin therapy model, also allotting $5.6 million for the measure’s implementation in the 2021-23 budget.
The advisory board met its initial deadline of June 30, submitting recommendations to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) concerning the available medical, psychological, and scientific studies related to the safety and efficacy of psilocybin for treating mental health issues. The research report was made available to the public on July 29.
“The Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School is a good partner for the Board because we share many goals,” says Dr. Mason Marks, Project Lead on POPLAR, and a member of the OPAB.
“Measure 109 requires the Board to create a system for psilocybin services that is safe, equitable, and accessible, and one of POPLAR’s primary goals is to promote access to psychedelic therapies and equity in emerging psychedelics industries,” he adds.
The two-year development programme requires the Oregon board to develop a long-term strategic plan that ensures safety, accessibility, and affordability on psilocybin services.
“That’s a very broad command because safety and accessibility can mean many things,” Dr. Marks says. “For instance, they can refer to the wellbeing of individuals as well as populations such as people with disabilities and other marginalized communities. Consequently, developing a long-term strategic plan requires the Board to understand many facets of psilocybin services, such as how they have impacted different stakeholders and how they may affect these groups moving forward.” Such issues will be explored in the partnership while producing the ELSI report.
Dr. Marks tells Truffle Report that the first report was produced “under intense time pressure”, yet the Board research committee “did an outstanding job compiling research and drafting its report.” In the first report, the rapid review focused on evidence from randomized controlled trials, while other sources of research and information were omitted due to limited time and resources.
The collaboration is expected to last until the ELSI report is produced, with an approximate timeline of four to six months.
Ritika is a Toronto-based reporter. She writes about drug policies and developments in psychedelics.