By Bob Christie | Arizona Capitol Times
Arizona lawmakers are giving a big thumbs up to the party drug known as Ecstasy and turning on to hallucinogenic magic mushrooms, too.
But don’t take this wrong – they’re not pushing the drugs for the usual recreational uses.
Instead, bills that would fund a $30 million research program to study psilocybin mushrooms in treating post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression, and another to legalize the drug formally called MDMA for the same uses are advancing amid strong emerging evidence that they may be highly effective new therapies.
That’s why former Pinal County sheriff’s deputy and Marine Corps combat veteran Robert Steele marched down to the Capitol earlier this month. The 39-year-old married father of two told a House committee that PTSD and the effects of traumatic brain injuries had nearly crippled him, leaving him suicidal, unable to work and nearly destroying his family life.
Despite being so driven to serve in the military and law enforcement that he had never even tried marijuana, Steele described how he turned to magic mushrooms “out of sheer desperation” as a last-ditch effort to get relief after hearing it may help. He called the effects “profound.”
“I felt like I think clearly, for the first time in years,” Steele told a House committee.