OHA Sets Stage for Psilocybin Services

By Jack Rubinger

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has adopted the final set of administrative rules needed to launch the nation’s first regulatory framework for psilocybin services. Angela Albee, Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) Section Manager at OHA, said that her office has been busy fielding service inquiries, reviewing applications and conducting site inspections and background checks.

“People have expressed concerns about safety,” said Albee. “But there are also folks who aren’t aware of the research related to psilocybin. There are thousands of years of indigenous practice and the knowledge that comes from that, plus decades of practice in the unregulated space. The research renaissance is really showing the benefits of psilocybin.”

Albee explained that the OHA is starting with just one species of psilocybin and testing labs will be set up to test these products for potency. They’ve put a lot of hours into the rule-making process, with over 70 pages of rules focused on safety.

The rules implement the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act, Ballot Measure 109, which is now codified in Oregon law. With the adoption of these rules, the OPS section began accepting applications for four licensure types on January 2, 2023: manufacturing, laboratory, service centers and facilitators. OHA’s role includes the regulation of these licensees. 

Persons operating outside of the system may be subject to criminal penalties from local or state law enforcement. Clients can only access psilocybin at a licensed service center during an administrative session.

The look and feel of these licensed service centers are open to interpretation depending on the needs of clients. Some may feature outdoor access so folks can feel the grass under their feet. Others may have more of a traditional clinical vibe. “Service centers might be co-located with another business,” said Albee. “Every center might look a little different. Some may offer a resort model or an urban setting. There might be one-to-one sessions or group sessions, too.”

A local SE Portland nonprofit—the Synaptic Training Institute—is now providing training for the implementation of Measure 109. On a cold, early winter weekend, 20 students learned basic counseling skills, discussed ethics case studies and supported each other through low dose ketamine journeys. The students’ goal is to become psilocybin facilitators under Oregon’s Measure 109. The Synaptic Training Institute launched their unique training model to increase accessibility into this new field.

Though no psilocybin service centers have opened, costs could be a barrier to entry. Facilitator licenses cost $2,000 per year and the average tuition for facilitator training is $8,000. Synaptic’s nonprofit status enables the organization to offset tuition costs with scholarships. This unique model lowers the barrier of entry to become a professional facilitator, making it accessible to a more diverse population of Oregonians, including, but not limited to, veterans and BIPOC community members. A third of this inaugural cohort has received scholarships to attend.

Dr. Matthew Hicks, ND, founder of Synaptic, had this to say: “I was really pleased with how well our inaugural retreat went. I was also deeply touched to see the personal growth that students reported as a result of their practicum experiences, as well as our coursework in trauma informed care and consent.” He continued, “I am really excited about the possibilities we have brewing for future cohorts. While working with ketamine for our practicum experiences has been successful, we are excited to start working with psilocybin. I am not prepared to make any announcements yet, but we have collaborations with several other organizations both regionally and globally to provide some stellar practicum opportunities.”

Regarding licensing fees, OHA will offer reductions for some groups, including those with low incomes, veterans and non-profit status. Licensing rules were adopted in late December.

Albee stated that the OHA will support folks in the application process—offering step by step guidance. For more information, visit the Oregon Psilocybin Services website, , email OHA.Psilocybin@odhsoha.oregon.gov or call 971.673.0322.

OHA Sets Stage for Psilocybin Services

1 thought on “<strong>OHA Sets Stage for Psilocybin Services</strong>”

  1. Jack, That is a fascinating article about psilocybin mushrooms.
    Is this you, Jack?
    The saxophone player.
    And radio DJ from Binghamton University.
    This is Will Morotti your old roommate.
    What is up?

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