A Texas bill to study psychedelics for veteran post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was unanimously advanced by a Senate committee on Wednesday. This brings the bill closer to being presented on the State Senate floor.
Bill 1802, sponsored by Rep. Alex Dominguez (D), proposes to study psychedelic substances including MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine to treat military veterans suffering from mental health issues like severe anxiety and PTSD.
The legislation was approved by the Senate Veteran Affairs and Border Security Committee by a vote of 5-0, moving it to a public hearing and final floor vote to take place in the Senate, after which it will be sent to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature.
If passed into law, the bill will ask the Health and Human Services Commission to conduct a scientific review in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and to study the therapeutic efficacy of psilocybin.
The Commission will be responsible for submitting quarterly progress reports. The final evaluation report on the board review’s findings will be due by December 2024.
Originally, Dominguez’s bill proposed studying a wide range of mental health illnesses with psychedelic substances, and was later amended to focus on military veteran mental wellbeing and treating PTSD with MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine.
The veteran’s psychedelic study bill has received strong support from former Texas Governor Rick Perry, asking legislators to push for solutions to post-traumatic stress issues in veterans.
Besides the psychedelics bill, Texas is working towards reforming its current drug policies as multiple marijuana and hemp bills continue to move ahead in the state legislature.
A Texas Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a bill proposing to lower penalties for cannabis concentrates.
Elsewhere, a similar psychedelics study bill was presented in the Connecticut legislature in January but has not progressed since. Meanwhile, California’s psychedelics bill was approved by two Senate Committees within a month, and was moved to the “Suspense File”, now scheduled to be heard on May 20. This would determine whether or not the bill moves for a full senate vote or is held by the committee for the rest of the year.
Ritika is a Toronto-based reporter. She writes about drug policies and developments in psychedelics.