SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – A bill introduced in the State Capitol would create a regulated psychedelic therapy program. 

Under the proposal, known as the Illinois CURE Act, only people 18 or older can seek this treatment, which will only be available at licensed facilities.

“You don’t get a prescription from a doctor and go home and administer the therapy to yourself, you would have to be with a trained facilitator and a licensed service center in Illinois,” Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), the bill’s sponsor, said. 

Because of this, Ford said this will help to ensure that the people who need the drug most will receive it.

“When we pass a law like this, it will be safe, legal and regulated, which will automatically put it under the health care regimen and provide people with the safety that they need by trained licensed facilitators and in healthcare settings,” Ford said.

The measure creates an advisory board under the Illinois Department of Public Health which would be tasked with making recommendations on regulating psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms. 

Ford and supporters of the bill have said research shows psychedelic mushrooms can help people struggling with mental health issues such as PTSD and depression. 

“It’s another avenue for people to find the relief that they’ve been seeking,” Ford said. “For a long time, people that have been using the same prescription drugs from their doctors from [the] pharmaceutical approach, to this type of therapy, and it should be something available for people in Illinois, especially when we have proof that it has changed people’s lives.”

Julia Ellis, the director of legislative affairs and government relations for Entheo IL, a nonprofit that supports using these drugs to help people with mental health issues, said psychedelic mushrooms helped a family member of hers struggling with PTSD after conventional treatment options failed.

“It has been a game changer and that is the story that you hear over and over and over again, from patients who really have run out of options and are encountering reasons for hope and healing with these compounds,” Ellis said.

Ellis added that these drugs have shown to help improve people’s well-being, particularly a person’s connectedness to family and friends, feelings of trust and community, and the ability to engage with the physical environment. 

“These are sort of the metrics that we see entheogens being powerful at elevating for folks who really struggle to make those connections,” Ellis said.

If passed, the measure would also expunge people’s records related to possessing psilocybin and psilocin, a substance found within these mushrooms. It would also remove them from a list of Schedule I controlled substances. Possession of those substances are punishable by four to 50 years in prison.