Dear Minister Patty Hajdu,
My name is Dayna Myles and I am a graduate student training to become a registered psychotherapist in London, Ontario who has also had the privilege of participating in TheraPsil’s current training cohort.
I want to sincerely thank you for your approval of the use and possession of psilocybin for the 34 individuals granted exemptions for medical purposes. This was a compassionate decision that has led to immense alleviation of suffering for those who were approved. These exemptions gave patients a safe container for accessing psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy through a network of medical professionals who are informed by decades of clinical research and indigenous wisdom, while trained to facilitate these experiences in a way that ensures effective outcomes.
For those still waiting for approval, the individual exception process has needlessly prolonged their suffering. Meanwhile, many non-palliative patients struggling with treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder clinically qualify as individuals who could greatly benefit from this treatment, yet are being left out of the exemption approvals. I ask that you continue to grant my colleagues and myself exemptions in our training as the experiential learning is vital in our ability to safely and effectively facilitate these treatments. Time is of the essence for many patients and the exemption process has put their fate in the hands of government officials when it is meant to be an informed decision between a patient and their healthcare provider. I implore that you no longer let patients pass away before being given the opportunity to find peace in their life and death.
Last year, my sister was one of these patients. Faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis and suddenly with very little time left to live, the section 56 exemption process felt like an intensive and overwhelming undertaking, with no guarantee of a timely response, during what were to be her last weeks of life. Had there been a regulatory system in place for medical access, she could have experienced relief of her existential suffering before it was too late.
Considering all the tools we have with psychotherapy and psychiatric medications, we are still facing a growing mental health crisis that has only worsened from the pandemic and surely will escalate as we collectively face the existential climate crisis. The time is now for the Canadian Government to once again lead the way in developing medical regulations for psilocybin. There is too much suffering at stake as we wait.
Minister Hajdu, I compel you to continue to respond to each exemption application in due time and to please consider TheraPsil’s proposal. It is being offered in collaboration with medical professionals across the country as a well-informed and much-needed solution for regulations going forward. Thank you for your time and all your efforts.