Psychedelics: An Emerging Drug Crisis

2:15 PM
3:30 PM
Potomac C


Healthcare professionals worry about “Long Covid”, an array of symptoms that persist even after the infection is gone. Consequences of drug use are similar, but are marginalized. From March 2021-March 2022, it is estimated that over 103,000 people died of a drug overdose. The undercurrents of the crisis are fueled by policy debates. Advocates for the legalization of drugs claim that they are relatively safe, that drug legalization will foster social justice, and that the war on drugs is the root cause of addiction and deaths. Marijuana normalization is gaining ground, followed closely by the next frontier of legalization: psychedelic drugs or hallucinogens. Using the same playbook as the marijuana advocates, they present drugs such as psilocybin or “magic mushrooms” as safe natural plant medicines. Opponents claim that loosening control will lead to greater crises. This debate and national policies can be informed by lessons from the past and present and a harbinger for the future.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:
1. kinow what psychedelic substances are and what are their known effects.
2. understand the debate over legalization of psychedelic substances
3. answer the question "Does legalization of psychedelic substances increase use?"


Dr. Bertha Madras
Professor of Psychobiology
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, McClean Hospital