A recent survey from the University of California reveals that 61% of U.S. voters support legalizing psychedelics for therapeutic purposes. Respondents’ attitudes towards personal use and societal implications of psychedelics varied. The report also highlights a first-degree connection to psychedelic use among 51% of participants and a political divide regarding psychedelic legalization.
A majority – 61% – of registered voters in the United States favor the legalization of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes, according to the inaugural survey from the University of California at Berkeley on psychedelics. 56% of respondents support obtaining Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for prescription psychedelics.
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Public Opinion on Psychedelics Research and Decriminalization
An overwhelming majority of those surveyed (78%) are in favor of researchers having easier access to study psychedelic substances, while nearly half of the respondents (49%) support eliminating criminal penalties for personal use and possession, and 44% support the authorization of psychedelics for spiritual and religious purposes.
Perception and Acceptance of Psychedelics
Among the 61% of people in favor of allowing therapeutic use of psychedelic substances, 63% stated that psychedelics were not “something for people like me,” 56% stated that psychedelics were not “something that interests me,” and 47% stated that psychedelics were not “a good thing for society.”
Among those who agreed with decriminalizing substances, 57% stated that psychedelics were not for them, 39% were not interested in learning more, and 41% stated that psychedelics were “not good for society.”
Personal Connection to Psychedelic Use
Just over half of the respondents (51%) reported having a “first-degree” connection to psychedelic use – either they themselves, or one of their close ones has used a psychedelic drug.
“Respondents with knowledge and a first-degree connection to psychedelics are also more likely to support policy reforms, have a positive perception of psychedelics, and trust almost all sources of information about psychedelics (except for law enforcement). With the exception of expanding research, no psychedelic policy reform is supported primarily by voters who do not have a first-degree connection to use,” according to the study.
Public Awareness of Therapeutic Uses
The survey found that 47% of voters have recently heard about psychedelics, with 48% of them stating they heard about the use of psychedelics for mental health treatment.
Political Divide on Legalization
Among those surveyed, liberal voters are overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing therapeutic access to psychedelics (80%), compared to 66% for moderates and 45% for conservatives.
Acceptance of Psychedelic Therapy for Specific Groups
Most of the surveyed voters accept that psychedelic therapy could be used to treat people suffering from terminal illnesses (80%), veterans (69%), and people with depression and anxiety resistant to treatments (67%).
However, fewer agree with unrestricted access to psychedelic therapy for anyone over 21 years old (44%) or the use of psychedelic therapy to treat substance addiction (45%).
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