Sen. Ventura

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura, along with several mental health advocates and professionals, spoke to the Senate Executive Committee to outline their support of legalizing psilocybin, commonly known as “magic mushrooms” during a subject matter hearing.

"With today’s subject matter hearing we heard from numerous advocates and medical professionals detailing their own struggles with the current lack of effective treatments available. Psilocybin has so much potential to help Illinoisans from any walk of life," said Ventura (D-Joliet). "My aspiration is for plant medicines to shed its stigma and be recognized for its safe and beneficial qualities. The CURE Act is dedicated to bringing relief to those suffering with mental illnesses, PTSD, substance abuse and more and offers a real life changing solution to the mental health epidemic our state is suffering from.”

Senate Bill 3695 known as the CURE Act – or the Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act – aims to tackle treatment-resistant conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions. Additionally, it facilitates research into the safety and efficacy of psilocybin through medical, psychological, and scientific studies.

“Law Enforcement Action Partnership recognizes this bill as nothing short of life saving. Providing a proven means for people to work through their traumas and live happier, healthier, and more productive lives,” said Dave Franco, retired police officer and speaker for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. “The benefits for mental and behavioral health can also have a sizable impact on community and public safety."

An estimated 6.8% of Americans will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Preliminary research of psychedelic programs by King’s College in London suggests that over 80% of veterans experience significant improvement after participating in just one psychedelic program.

“Thousands of years of cultural practice around the world attest to the broad value of psilocybin and similar substances. Modern research is showing additional application for treating a wide range of condition, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and more,” said Dr. Geoff Bathje. “With our state's severe mental health treatment shortage and inequitable access, it's essential to create more providers with safe and effective tools, with training and accountability. The CURE Act does exactly that.”

Under Senate Bill 3695, psychedelic therapies would be administered in controlled, supervised settings to ensure safety and treatment effectiveness. Retail sales of these medicines would be prohibited and could only be used under supervision at designated service centers.

“Psilocybin and other psychedelic medicines have demonstrated the potential to allow people to deeply process trauma and grief and heal from anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders,” said Katie Sullivan, MSN, APRN, FNP-C and co-founder of Modern Compassionate Care. “The CURE Act was crafted with the input of healthcare providers and advocates to provide a framework to deliver this breakthrough therapeutic option safely and ethically, while centering the needs of patients and our communities. My hope is that our legislators will consider this a vote of conscience and allow our citizens access to this life-changing treatment.”

The bill would also establish the Illinois Psilocybin Advisory Board under the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation which would create a training program, ethical standards, and licensing requirements.

“I speak daily to people from all walks of life who are desperate and looking for their own last-ditch effort to find healing. These are other mothers, veterans, teachers, and people from all walks of life,” said Jean Lacy the founder of the Illinois Psychedelic Society.

“From research, we know of psilocybin’s superior safety profile, as well as its therapeutic benefits for ailments such as treatment resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD and numerous others still under investigation,” shared board certified internist Karolina Mikos. “Knowing not just from research, but from first-hand experience how well these treatments worked for me, I cannot in good conscience, withhold this information from my patients and my loved ones, as I know psychedelics have the potential to have a huge impact on alleviating their suffering as well.”

Ventura looks forward to continuing conversations with colleagues, advocates and stakeholders with the goal of moving this historic legislation forward.