Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy to Start in Utah’s Major Hospitals Under New Law

Senate Bill 266 creates a three-year pilot program for the use of psilocybin and MDMA in authorized hospitals.

Starting May 1, health-care providers at the University of Utah Health and Intermountain Health will be able to administer psilocybin and MDMA to their patients, thanks to a bill that cruised through the Utah Legislature.

Senate Bill 266 creates a three-year pilot program for the use of psilocybin and MDMA in authorized hospitals.

Sponsored by Republican Kirk Cullimore, SB 266 whizzed through the Utah Senate and House of Representatives in the span of a month, after a similar but broader bill failed in 2023.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox allowed the bill to go into effect without signing it.

The bill limits the use of psilocybin and MDMA treatment to two types of providers: “a privately owned, nonprofit, vertically integrated health-care system that operates at least 15 licensed hospitals in the state” or “a health-care system closely affiliated with an institution of higher education” as defined by the state.

SB 266 also stipulates that psilocybin and MDMA treatment must be administered “only under the direct supervision and control” of authorized health-care providers.

Providers that administer psilocybin or MDMA as part of a treatment plan are required to submit a report detailing patients’ health outcomes, side effects from the drugs and any information that could help the legislature evaluate the drugs’ “medicinal value.”

In a statement, Cox told the Salt Lake City Tribune that while he is “generally supportive of scientific efforts to discover the benefits of new substances that can relieve suffering,” he is “disappointed” that state lawmakers “ignored” input from a task force created in 2022 to make recommendations on the potential use of controlled substances such as psilocybin and MDMA to treat mental-health conditions.

In an October 2022 report, the Utah Mental-Illness Psychotherapy Drug Task Force concluded that “the most rigorous and cost-effective approach to ensuring that the people of Utah have safe access to the most effective programs in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy would be to wait for the fast-track FDA rulings for MDMA and psilocybin.”