From Prohibition to Progress: The Journey Towards Decriminalizing Psychedelics and Transforming Public Health




Junk, Samuel

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Since the beginning of recorded history humans have utilized psychedelics for promoting wellness and treating illness. In more recent times, the War on drugs drove these practices into the underground by stigmatizing drug use and in turn users face an unregulated and dangerous drug market. This has prevented the safe and therapeutic use of psychedelics for people suffering from a myriad of illnesses. This thesis argues that the decriminalization of psychedelics is necessary for ensuring public safety and promoting responsible drug use. First, I will provide the history of popular psychedelics and how it shaped the current psychedelic cultures' shift to the underground. Second, I will examine the current research that points towards the therapeutic potential of psychedelics and discuss the pathways to legalization under the medical model of the FDA in the United States. Third, I will discuss the current status of psychedelic decriminalization in the United States and how this framework promotes beneficial practices for the use of psychedelics. Overall, this thesis seeks to provide a broad yet comprehensive understanding of psychedelics, the benefits and risks involved and the implications of decriminalization for the future of psychedelics and humanity.



psychedelics, PTSD, public policy, decriminalization


Junk, S. (2023). From prohibition to progress: The journey towards decriminalizing psychedelics and transforming public health. Honors College, Texas State University.


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