The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and others, along with the story of Amy Cooper’s attempt to frame Christian Cooper, have shined a light on systemic racism. These events reflect an ongoing, centuries-long pattern of violence involving police brutality, murder, false accusations, and criminalization of Black people. MAPS and MAPS PBC stand in solidarity with people collectively raising their voices to assert that Black lives matter.
Racism is a public health crisis. Not only does it cause ongoing racial trauma, but it is a driving force in other health disparities and severely restricts access to competent and affordable health care, including therapy. Psychedelic-assisted therapy may have the potential to help heal trauma—but individual therapy does not treat institutionalized racism. The emerging field of psychedelic healthcare must commit to creating equitable access to care, and support efforts to end the criminalization of all people who use drugs. Healing is intertwined with justice.
The war on drugs was developed to criminalize people of color and anti-war activists, and has accelerated the militarization of police over the last 50 years. This escalation continues today, as police use military surveillance, equipment, and weapons in attempts to control protestors. It is jarring to witness the stark contrast between the resources available for policing during demonstrations and the resources available for healthcare workers during COVID-19. This disparity highlights how the status quo perpetuates trauma and undermines health equity. We must end the war on drugs.
To heal as a community, we need to transform society by understanding our fears and challenging oppressive ideologies, policies, and systems. We know that ending the war on drugs is just one important step, and psychedelic-assisted therapy alone will not end racism. MAPS and MAPS PBC are working every day to integrate a deeper anti-racist practice into our work. We have made slow, deliberate progress, and acknowledge that we have a long way to go. We commit to doing the work for collective liberation.