PRESS RELEASE: Right to Try Psilocybin Backs Lawsuit Against Justice Department

Tuesday, July 26, 2022
CONTACT: Ken Bazinet Ph: 202-660-2449 or

Right to Try Psilocybin Backs Lawsuit Against Justice Department

Accuses DOJ and DEA of Cover-Up Blocking Terminally Ill from Treatment
Demands Attorney General Produce Documents Withheld in FOIA Request

WASHINGTON — Right to Try Psilocybin announced it is giving its full support to a lawsuit filed by a well-known cancer care provider, its co-founder and attorneys specializing in end-of-life advocacy and opening access to crucial medicine. The plaintiffs are suing Attorney General Merrick Garland and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram over the Justice Department (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for intentionally failing to produce essential documents and information under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The lawsuit casts light on an on-going federal effort that prevents terminally ill Americans from treating themselves with quality of life-improving psilocybin.

“The government’s excuses, delays and obfuscation all point to a cover-up that unmercifully ignores the pain and suffering of desperately ill Americans,” Adam Eidinger, a bladder cancer survivor and founding member of the advocacy and educational group Right To Try Psilocybin (RTTP). “What possible reason could any decent public servant cite that rises above the need and compassion of allowing an American citizen access to medicine that can potentially improve a patient’s quality of life?”

The plaintiffs are suing to get the requested documents and a finding from the court that Attorney General Garland, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, DOJ and DEA violated the FOIA rules by intentionally and repeatedly failing to produce the requested documents. The plaintiffs also demand that they get a court-backed assurance that this practice of ignoring or dodging FOIA requests cease. The case, which can be found here, was filed in U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas.

The four plaintiffs, whose research depends on being able to access the accurate and detailed information they have requested from DOJ and DEA, are:

    • AIMS Institute, an integrative oncology clinic located in Seattle dedicated to providing cutting-edge integrative medical care, research, and education in oncology, psychiatry, neurology, rehabilitation, pain management, and palliative care
    • Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, a physician with specialized expertise in palliative care located in Seattle, Co-founder and co-director of the AIMS, who holds a DEA certificate of registration to prescribe controlled substances for drugs listed in Schedules II-IV of the Controlled Substances Act
    • Kathryn Tucker of Bend, Oregon, is an attorney who has dedicated her career to advocating on behalf of terminally ill persons. She is Special Counsel and co-chair of the Psychedelics Practice Group at Emerge Law Group and regularly works with clients in the controlled and psychedelic substances space
    • And Matthew C. Zorn of Houston, Texas, is an attorney whose residence and principal place of business are in this District. Zorn regularly works with clients in the controlled substances space and has active matters pending before DEA.

RTTP is planning grassroots organizing in the coming months, including a protest concert and rally at the White House this October 9th. Outreach to performers is already underway. Other events are in the works for the fall, and the group is also considering options to directly support the case of the four plaintiffs.

“Our message is Mr. Garland, remove these unlawful walls of injustice and allow the American people access to the same information the federal government has hidden in its vaults,” said Eidinger of RTTP.

RTTP advocates for the right to try psilocybin to be available to all patients. Extensive research has shown that psilocybin can bring “immediate, substantial, and sustained improvements in anxiety and depression; decreased demoralization and hopelessness, improved spiritual well-being, increased quality of life.“ In addition, RTTP is demanding a halt to DEA preventing terminally ill patients from legally accessing psilocybin. DEA incorrectly asserts that the Controlled Substances Act, which scheduled psilocybin in the most restrictive category, prevents dying patients from accessing the drug even though it qualifies under the Right to Try Act.


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PRESS RELEASE: Terminally Ill Cancer Patient and Supporters of the Right to Try Act to Shut Down Drug Enforcement Administration Headquarters

Monday, May 9, 2022

CONTACT: Adam Eidinger | 202-744-2671

Terminally Ill Cancer Patient and Supporters of the Right to Try Act to Shut Down Drug Enforcement Administration Headquarters

The DEA Is Preventing Terminally-Ill Patients Their Legal Right to Try Psilocybin by Invoking the Controlled Substances Act

ARLINGTON, VA — On Monday, May, 9, at 12:00pm ET, supporters of U.S. citizens’ right to try psilocybin will hold a rally and engage in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) headquarters. Passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in 2018, the Right to Try Act affords citizens with life-threatening conditions the right to use experimental drugs as long as the drug has completed Phase 1 clinical trials and remains under investigation. Laboratory-produced psilocybin, the psychoactive chemical commonly found in psilocybe mushrooms, has completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials, remains under investigation, and has been designated as a “breakthrough therapy” by the Federal Drug Administration. Psilocybin has been shown to bring ‘Immediate, substantial and sustained’ relief from anxiety and depression in dying patients. Unfortunately, the DEA has prevented terminally-ill patients from receiving the drug for nearly two years by incorrectly citing the Controlled Substances Act and psilocybin’s status as a Schedule I drug.

“My cancer is progressing and I am running out of time to access this promising medicine. It is not just the DEA’s refusal to grant access, but the fact that they have yet to confirm receipt and/or respond to our waiver request from early February is inhumane, unjust, and downright shameful. This agency is not above the law, and in this instance a law that was passed with overwhelming unilateral support from our legislators.” says Erinn Baldeschwiler, a mother of two teenagers, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in 2020.

Ms. Baldeschwiler’s doctor, Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, a Seattle palliative care physician and co-director of the Advanced Integrative Medical Science Institute, sought permission from the DEA to obtain psilocybin for his patients. As a Schedule I substance, this requires the DEA to sign off on his request, which it has refused to do. This began a legal battle that is still ongoing.

“We have patiently explored every avenue with DEA to gain its approval for terminally ill patients to access psilocybin for relief of debilitating anxiety and depression. Access is intended by duly enacted state and federal Right to Try (RTT) laws. Yet the DEA has engaged in delay and obstruction. This is unacceptable. My clients are running out of time. There is urgent need for the DEA to accommodate RTT and enable access. This demonstration shines the bright light of public concern and outrage on this agency’s conduct. Not one more day ought to go by without the DEA creating a path to access.” says Kathryn Tucker, Special Counsel with the Emerge Law Group and the Lead Counsel in the legal battle for the doctors and patients.

As their lawsuit has moved through the courts numerous members of Congress and Attorneys General have reached out to the DEA and submitted amicus briefs (See Timeline below). All appeals have fallen on deaf ears and have given reason for advocates to come to the DEA Headquarters to demand action.

“Psilocybin therapy has the power to help patients in the final months of their life, to break through fear and anxiety, and enjoy their family and loved ones” says David Bronner, the Cosmic Engagement Officer of Dr. Bronner’s, the nation’s leading organic and fair trade soap company, which has supported efforts to ease restrictions on psilocybin. “DEA is way out of line denying Americans access to this kind of relief in their last days.” Bronner will be speaking at the rally and engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience in support of the patients.

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