Why it matters: The Massachusetts Governor has filed legislation to increase benefits and modernize services for military veterans, including a provision to study the medical benefits of psychedelic drugs. This marks a significant step towards supporting veterans and addressing their evolving needs.
What they are saying: The legislation, known as the HERO Act, aims to positively impact the lives of military veterans in Massachusetts, including women and LGBTQ+ vets. It includes provisions such as expanding access to mental health treatment, increasing benefits for disabled veterans, and updating the definition of a veteran. The bill also establishes a working group to research the health benefits of psychedelics for veterans.
The big picture: Research has shown that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can be effective in treating mental health conditions commonly experienced by veterans, such as PTSD and anxiety disorders. Federal agencies, including the FDA, are currently reviewing psychedelics’ potential to treat mental health conditions. Several states have also considered legislation to ease the prohibition on psychedelics for therapeutic purposes.
What to watch: It will be important to monitor the progress of the HERO Act and whether the provision to study the medical benefits of psychedelics for veterans ultimately becomes a reality. Additionally, the ongoing research on psychedelics’ potential for mental health treatment and the efforts to reform psychedelics laws in Massachusetts and other states should be followed.
My take: The inclusion of a provision to study the medical benefits of psychedelic drugs for veterans in the HERO Act is a progressive and promising step. Psychedelic-assisted therapies have shown promising results in treating mental health conditions, and further research is needed to fully understand their potential. The legislation overall demonstrates a commitment to supporting and improving the lives of military veterans, which is commendable.