Open Letter to Congress: Is the Law on Psychedelic Drugs Reasonable?

Subject: Open Letter to Congress: Is the Law on Psychedelic Drugs Reasonable?
From: Gabrielle Ducret
Date: 4 Dec 2017

Dear Congress,

I would like to raise your awareness on an issue that has not gotten enough recognition. You may or may not have heard about the recent findings regarding psychedelic drugs and their potential to treat certain mental disorders. Unfortunately, these drugs have been placed into the Schedule 1 substance category by the Drug Enforcement Agency. According to the United States DEA, drugs in this category have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical treatment. There is no logic behind this decision, however, because psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms have been scientifically proven to have therapeutic capabilities.

Multiple trials have been carried out where participants with either depression, anxiety, or an addiction were given a dose of either psilocybin or LSD. The results of each trial were all very similar in that the majority of the participants reported a significant decrease in the symptoms of their mental illness. For example, when psilocybin assisted therapy was given to cancer patients with treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, 80% of the patients reported a decrease in both depressive symptoms and anxiety even 6 months after the treatment (Kwon, 36). This one experiment shows that psychedelic drugs are not what you believe they are. How could they be "dangerous" when they significantly helped these cancer patients by reducing their symptoms of depression and anxiety when nothing else could?

So, my question is, who made the decision that psychedelic drugs are dangerous?... because science says otherwise. There is absolutely no logic behind this decision. If anything, making psychedelic drugs illegal is a violation of human rights. They are in NO way dangerous unless they are used irresponsibly. This is not an excuse to make these drugs illegal, however, because psychedelic therapy has the ability to remove any negative aspects associated with psychedelic drugs (Tupper et al., 1).

Let's take a look at alcohol and tobacco, for example. These drugs have been legal for decades even though it is clear how dangerous they are when used irresponsibly. Look at the chart above comparing various causes for annual deaths in the U.S. That big green chunk accounts for deaths from tobacco, which is a whopping 480,000. The blue section accounts for deaths from alcohol, which is still a very large number at 88,000. That tiny little teal section (if you can even see it) accounts for the deaths from all psychedelic drugs. The number is 0.01. The number of annual deaths from psychedelic drugs is almost non-existent, even when compared to annual deaths from lightning strikes. Now, you tell me which drug is “dangerous”.

Since psychedelic drugs have the ability to treat anxiety, they can be used as an alternative to addictive and life-threatening drugs like Xanax. In fact, according to "The Chicago Tribune", in 2013, overdoses from benzodiazepines accounted for 31 percent of the 23,000 deaths from prescription drug overdoses in the United States (Reinberg, 1). This is due to the highly addictive properties of benzodiazepines. On the other hand, there have been no recorded deaths due to psychedelic drugs alone (Taub, 1).

As you can see, psychedelic drugs have amazing capabilities to cure depression, anxiety, and addiction that no other method or medication could cure. With this new information at hand, it should be taken into consideration by you, Congress, to legalize the medical use of these drugs so that they can be used for therapeutic purposes.


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