Connecticut Bills Call for New Mental Health Treatment Techniques | Connecticut

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(The Center Square) — The use of psychedelics to treat mental health disorders is the focus of a bill passed by the Public Health Committee, Senate Democrats said.

House Bill 5396which deals with access to mental and behavioral health services and medications, left Committee Monday. The bills are sponsored by State Senator Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, who serves as vice-chairman of the committee.

House Bill 5275 also left the committee; it discusses step therapy and prescription medications for mental and behavioral health issues.

If passed, the bills would use new treatment options for mental health issues, including the use of psychedelics MDMA and psilocybin, create a psychedelic treatment advisory council, and end the practice of to use less expensive treatment options for medications to treat mental and behavioral health problems. .

MDMA is known officially as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and informally as “ecstasy” or “Molly”. Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic alkaloid, present in certain toads.

“Our state and our nation continue to face a mental health crisis, and we must ensure that we help those who are struggling however we can,” Anwar said in the statement. “These bills can play an important role in ensuring that we streamline the ease of access to important, even life-saving medicines, and that we investigate and pursue all options available to treat the mental health of individuals, including those that were previously ignored.

HB5396, if adopted, would establish a pilot program that would study the use of MDMA and psilocybin-assisted therapies that fall within the guidelines of a federal program approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Under the program, three sites would be selected for the program which would fall under the direction of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The program would end if the FDA approved each psychedelic for the general treatment of mental health conditions, according to the bill.

Under the bill, $1.5 million from the general fund would be allocated to the ministry to also fund treatment sites this year, and $1.5 million would fund treatment sites approved by March 31, 2023, at provided there is a receipt for $1.5 million in matching grants. of a private foundation to care for qualified patients.

According to the bill, qualified patients would be state residents who are veterans, retired first responders, direct healthcare workers, or from a historically underserved community who suffer from mental or behavioral disorders. serious and who do not have access to effective care. medications for mental health or behavioral health.

Currently, according to the release, both MDMA and psilocybin are listed as Schedule I substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration, even though recent studies have found potential therapeutic use in treating mental health conditions.

House Bill 5275, if passed, would prohibit health carriers from requiring step therapy for prescription drugs used to treat mental and behavioral health issues. Step therapy calls on insurance companies to use less expensive treatments before moving on to more expensive drugs.

According to the release, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, under the Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Pilot Program, would provide patients with the necessary funding to undergo treatment, with funds earmarked in a special fund, patients qualified for approved treatment sites. Funds.

The department, according to the release, would select three candidates for approved treatment sites by Dec. 28.

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