MAPS Provides Psychedelic Crisis Assessment and Intervention Training to Denver’s First Responders

  • This is a first-of-its-kind training for any major American municipality.
  • MAPS uses its over 30 years of experience in the psychedelic space to offer a gold-standard training program.
  • MAPS looks to share this training with other interested jurisdictions.

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has partnered with the City and County of Denver to provide comprehensive training on psychedelic crisis assessment and intervention to the city’s first responders. The Psychedelic Crisis Assessment and Intervention training was commissioned by the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel (DPMPRP), a first-of-its-kind panel that was formed after the passage of Ordinance 301 in May 2019, which effectively decriminalized the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms in Denver.

MAPS’ training aims to enhance the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of first responders to quickly recognize and effectively respond to emotional and behavioral crisis incidents involving psilocybin and other psychedelics. The program also seeks to enhance responder safety and reduce risk and liability in situations where individuals are experiencing a psychedelic-induced crisis.

After three years, a team of over 20 MAPS and subcontracted professionals with backgrounds in law, medicine, psychiatry, mental health, neuropsychopharmacology, law enforcement, crisis response, quality improvement, and education developed the curriculum. The final training is customized for law enforcement, mental health, and emergency medical service personnel and will be delivered through asynchronous videos and corresponding assessments.

I'm proud of my hometown for stepping into a national leadership role with this training. It represents a giant leap forward for public health and safety with psilocybin and natural medicines in Denver and is a perfect example of what cities can do to better integrate emerging psychedelic policies into their existing infrastructures. I'm looking forward to the city continuing its collaboration with MAPS to monitor outcomes and educate Denver residents on this exciting new issue.

–Kevin Matthews, former President of the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel.

The trainings cover topics such as:

  • The history, usage, psychological and physiological response, and potential adverse effects of psilocybin ingestion
  • The legal considerations and implications of decriminalization and the role of first responders
  • The standards and protocols for effective psilocybin or psychedelic-related crisis response planning, training, and deployment
  • The best practices and techniques for assessing, de-escalating, and managing psychedelic crises

“We are honored and excited to collaborate with the City and County of Denver to provide this groundbreaking training program on psychedelic crisis assessment and intervention. We believe that this program will equip first responders with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle psilocybin and psychedelic related crises in a safe and compassionate manner and ultimately improve the health and well-being of the community. This program is also a testament to the progressive and visionary leadership of Denver, which has taken a bold step to decriminalize psilocybin and create a model for other cities to follow.” – Sara Gael, MA, LPC (former MAPS Harm Reduction Officer).

The Denver Harm Reduction training initiative has been well received by the City of Denver leadership, who recognize the importance and value of providing first responders with the necessary tools and skills to handle psychedelic-related crises in a safe and compassionate manner.

The safety and efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapies are currently under investigation. No psychedelic-assisted therapy has been approved by the FDA or other regulatory authorities; no therapy works for everyone; and all therapies, even in clinical settings, carry risks.

Founded in 1986, MAPS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. MAPS previously sponsored the most advanced psychedelic-assisted therapy research in the world and continues to support psychedelic and marijuana research with a focus on the people and places most impacted by trauma. MAPS incubated Lykos Therapeutics, a drug-development public benefit company, and The Zendo Project, a leader in psychedelic harm reduction.


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