Budget conference: USF priorities look promising as House meets Senate on human trafficking initiative, psilocybin study
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USF may soon get to see if magic mushrooms can work their magic on PTSD.

The University of South Florida (USF) is poised so far to notch wins on programs tackling human trafficking and studying the effects of psilocybin on post-traumatic stress disorder, with House offers matching those in the Senate.

The House had originally penciled in $375,000 in its initial budget for the USF St. Petersburg Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Risk to Resilience Lab. The Senate included in its budget $750,000 for the same program. The House matched the Senate’s proposed spending level.

That also aligns the House offer with Rep. Lindsay Cross’ original appropriations request, which likewise called for $750,000.

The funds would be used to expand a centralized data center to facilitate the measuring and tracking of human trafficking over time to determine the impacts of various initiatives used to combat the atrocity. The goal is to pave the way for evidence-based decision making as it relates to the use of state funds and programming. It would expand the Statewide Data Repository for Anonymous Human Trafficking Data, which the state created last year.

Likewise, the House also met the Senate on its proposal for a study on the use of psilocybin in veterans suffering from PTSD. The Senate included $650,000 in its budget for the study. While the House did not include funding in its budget, its initial offer met the Senate on its ask.

Psilocybin is the psychedelic-inducing active ingredient in mushrooms commonly known as “magic mushrooms.”

The offer, however, is far less than what Sen. Jay Collins originally requested, which was $3 million. The funding would help USF Health, the medical education arm for the University of South Florida, conduct a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Currently, only two medications are approved by the FDA and both are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which Collins’ request notes “have limited efficacy and may even elevate risks of suicidal ideation.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 27, 2024 at 7:18 am

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