Psychedelics, Entheogens and Public Policy: Scoping the Intersections between Renaissance and Reform
The resurgence of interest in the medical and spiritual uses of psychedelic and entheogenic substances is occurring in many parts of the world. However, restrictive drug policies that criminalize people and create obstacles for research are a major impediment to realizing the potential of these substances to catalyze healing and learning. This presentation will examine the intersections between the psychedelic and drug policy reform movements, exploring areas of synergy and potential for mutual advancement. It is based on interviews conducted with 30 informants working in psychedelic research or drug policy reform, along with supplementary internet research, to explore perceptions of cross-fertilization between movements. Our findings suggest that by fostering cross-sectoral capacity building, each of these movements can be strengthened and contribute to shared goals of shaping global drug policies that minimize harms and maximize benefits of psychedelic and entheogenic substances.
Kenneth W. Tupper is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, where his research interests include: psychedelic studies; the cross-cultural and historical uses of psychoactive substances; public, professional and school-based drug education; and creating healthy public policy to maximize benefits and minimize harms from currently illegal drugs. Kenneth’s Ph.D. dissertation (and earlier M.A. thesis) in Education developed the concept of “entheogenic education,” a potential theoretical frame for understanding how psychedelic plants and substances—in particular the Amazonian brew ayahuasca—can function as cognitive tools for learning.