Poison Control Center Calls Increased Following Psilocybin Decriminalization

in Culture

Recently, researchers Christopher P. Holstege and Rita Farah unveiled the results of their study on the increase in poison center calls for mushroom consumption. In “Psilocybin Exposures Reported to U.S. Poison Centers: National Trends Over a Decade,” the researchers explored the rising trend of accidental exposure to psilocybin between January 1, 2024-December 31, 2022. Holstege is a Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics and Farah is a Researcher of Epidemiology, both of which work at the University of Virginia.

Over a 10-year period, there were 4,055 exposure incidents recorded by the National Poison Data System, and 2,667 (65.8%) of those incidents involved adolescents or young adults between 13-25. From this number of people, 1,176 (75.3%) were adolescents, and 797 (72.1%) were young adults. One of researchers’ noteworthy observations was that cases didn’t rise between 2013-2018, but increased after 2019, and tripled in 2022.

Holstege and Farah co-wrote an analysis of their research, which was originally published in The Conversation.

Researchers noted that in May 2019, Denver, Colorado became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin, which was followed shortly after by Oakland, California, in June 2019. This trend continued with various other cities across the U.S., with Santa Cruz, California, in January 2020, Washington D.C. in November 2020, Sommerville, Massachusetts in January 2021, Seattle, Washington in October 2021, and Detroit, Michigan in November 2021. Additionally, Oregon was the first state to decriminalize psilocybin and introduce a legal therapy treatment program in November 2020. This was followed by the state of Colorado in November 2022.

Farah is an epidemiologist, and both of them worked together to identify potential harms. “Part of our job is to track public health risks related to poisons and to create efforts to prevent them,” the researchers wrote. “We are both concerned about the increase in calls to poison control centers related to psilocybin.”

However, the information collected by the National Poison Data System covers …

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Author: Nicole Potter / High Times

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