Oregon’s new psilocybin therapy program started in January, but it took months to train new facilitators. So people are just starting to consume hallucinogenic mushrooms under this scheme.
One of the first was James Carrossio, a retired small business owner. He doesn’t actually live in Oregon. He came here in an RV from Arizona. But he used to live in Bend and was keeping a close eye on Oregon’s new system in hopes of getting help.
At the age of 14, Carroccio found his father dead in bed from a heart attack. His mother disappeared and suddenly he was alone.
“I lost everything,” he said. “My world was out of control, so I needed to control things around me.”
Carroccio developed what he considers to be obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. As he reached middle age, he began spending hours obsessively cleaning windows, baseboards, and floors, even though he could afford regular visits from his housekeeper.
“The lines on the carpet were irregular,” he said. “I took out the carpet and vacuumed it to create a very consistent pattern.”
His obsessive behavior affected many aspects of his life, both for good and bad. He says he was over-managing the lives of his own children. He also credits his penchant for maintaining a perfect site with happy customers.
Carroccio estimates he has worked with a dozen therapists over the course of 30 years. It was of limited help.
“Therapists always made me feel good right away. But the patterns and behavior never changed,” he said. “I was looking for a complete change, hoping for psilocybin.”
He found Bendable Therapy in Bend. This is one of five psilocybin service centers currently open in Oregon, and the only non-profit dedicated to making this treatment available. Therefore, there is no real charge for taking psilocybin. Instead, she is offered a $2,300 donation, according to Bendable co-founder Amanda Gow.
“We have a sliding donation form, and I say, ‘Here are our parameters. Tell us how much you can donate,'” Gau said.
“Once people experience the program and say, ‘Oh, this is life-changing,’ they will probably become monthly donors.”
Carroccio did not disclose how much he had initially donated, but said he is now subscribing to a monthly plan so he can help others who want to take psilocybin.
At 9am on Monday, July 17th, my wife drove him to a nonprofit space in downtown Bend. Facilitator Josh Goldstein took Carroccio to a small room with music playing and a padded cot. Goldstein chose a playlist. They had already discussed Carroccio’s obsessive behavior and the intentions of the session.
“I asked him, ‘What was going on when this started?'” Goldstein said.
Carroccio said he had never been asked such questions before. It prompted insight.
“He was like, ‘Oh my God!’ 14! That’s when my father died,” Goldstein said. So I asked: ‘Do you think there is a connection there? 』
Despite the fact that hallucinogenic mushrooms can trigger extreme emotions, both positive and negative, Carroccio decided to mourn his father while on psilocybin.
Oregon’s new law allows people to eat up to 50 milligrams of dried mushrooms at one time. And facilitators are forbidden to touch drugs. Carroccio was then given three packets. They were sealed and marked with a state registration number and grower’s name.
“Very edible,” he said. “It’s like eating nuts.”
He lay down, put on the eyeshade, and practiced some deep breathing exercises. After 20 minutes he felt the drug kick in. He said he felt at peace, as if he no longer had any physical form.
“I was starting to feel a certain amount of weightlessness, like I was focused in my mattress,” he said. “I wasn’t bound by the gravity that the Earth provides.”
Then he started thinking about his mental health and his father.
“My OCD may have become a complication from losing control of my life at age 14 and trying to control myself and make everything less chaotic and orderly,” he said. says. “The most intense love was immediately rewarded when I exposed myself to a deep sorrow I had never known.”
Two days later, on the advice of those who created Oregon’s psilocybin therapy system, Carroccio met with Goldstein again and incorporated the new insights into his life.
Although his experience has been positive, the new system is not considered medical. Facilitators cannot diagnose or treat medical conditions. They are only allowed to supervise the psilocybin session and ensure the safety of the participants.
Meanwhile, states are building dashboards to explain various aspects of the new program, including licensing and compliance. The data does not contain names.
Future studies are also planned to see how well it works.
While proponents warn that psilocybin isn’t a silver bullet for OCD, depression, and other health problems, Carroccio said it works immeasurably. He decided not to return to therapy. Instead, he would like to meet other people who have been treated with psilocybin.
“It’s so much better when you’re involved with someone,” he said. “They will understand that, and I think I can understand where they have been.”
Carroccio said the psilocybin now slows him down and drives other cars ahead of him. He also speaks to people he has never spoken to before.
His wife, Tanya Smith-Carroccio, also said he seemed more thoughtful.
“I’m seeing less impulsiveness and more controlled and attentive reactions,” she said.
Carroccio thinks he may take psilocybin again to continue his personal growth. And, he says, he wishes it was available 45 years ago.