By Zoe Smith / gal-dem

While the results of the 2020 US election may have been hotly disputed, one outcome that was crystal clear was the win for progressive drug policy. From New Jersey to Arizona, voters in their millions chose to decriminalise the use of drugs at an unprecedented scale with Oregon even introducing a historic first by legalising magic mushrooms for therapeutic use.

That’s all well and good for the US but, you may be wondering, what does that have to do with our lived reality on Britain’s shores?

Earlier this month, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the world’s leading non-profit psychedelic research organisation, began fundraising in the UK to support clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among wounded army veterans.

In fact, the PTSD study is just one of dozens currently taking place in the UK that seek to explore the impact that psychedelic substances can have on mental health.

From MDMA, to psilocybin (magic mushrooms), Ayahuasca and beyond, a whole host of mind-altering substances which were traditionally used in recreational settings are being explored for their therapeutic benefits. So, given the historic racial disparities in mental health outcomes and the known lack of culturally competent mental health provision for our communities, just who is advocating for Black people’s needs within this newly emerging field?