Wednesday, July 27, 2022

APA Releases Positions on Psychedelics, Police Interactions With Minors in Crisis, and More

APA’s Board of Trustees has approved six position statements on issues including the need for continued research into the use of psychedelics to treat psychiatric disorders, the role of psychiatry in care of patients with HIV, and the mental health needs of immigrants and people affected by forced displacement.

Position statements approved by the Board of Trustees are official policy of APA on issues that are critical to the practice of psychiatry and to public health. The following are summaries of the statements approved by the Board:

Position Statement on the Use of Psychedelic and Empathogenic Agents for Mental Health Conditions

There is inadequate scientific evidence for endorsing the use of psychedelics to treat any psychiatric disorder except within the context of approved investigational studies. Clinical treatments should be determined by scientific evidence in accordance with applicable regulatory standards and not by ballot initiatives or popular opinion.

Position Statement on Police Interactions With Children and Adolescents in Mental Health Crisis

APA calls for national standards that protect children and adolescents against violence by law enforcement responding to youth in mental health crisis. This includes support for health care and mental health workers as first responders to noncriminal calls such as mental health crises; limits on the use of force against children; and mandatory training for law enforcement personnel who respond to youth in mental health crisis.

Position Statement on the Impact of Structural Racism on Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders

APA supports legislation and policies that promote equity and improve the social and structural determinants of substance use and substance use disorders (SUD) and opposes legislation and policies that perpetuate racial inequities. Additionally, APA supports multidisciplinary education on historical and current racial inequities around substance use and SUDs as well as culturally informed research on substance use and SUDs.

Position Statement on the Mental Health Needs of Immigrants and People Affected by Forced Displacement

Immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, persons in the temporary protected status program, and persons in immigration custody should be treated with dignity and respect during all phases of migration. Government and health care agencies as well as community groups should work together to ensure this population has access to timely, affordable, trauma-informed, culturally accessible quality health care, encompassing mental health care and substance use treatment.

Position Statement on Level of Care Determinations for Acute Psychiatric Treatment

Utilization review (UR) is a process conducted by public and private insurers to evaluate a patient’s treatment plan to determine what level of care is necessary. APA supports focusing UR on hospitalized patients with high clinical need, psychosocial complexity, histories of repeat admissions, frequent emergency department visits, prolonged inpatient stays, and homelessness or other issues based on social determinants of health. APA supports education and training for UR agents and clinicians to ensure consistent and transparent utilization review and level of care determinations.

Position Statement on the Role of Psychiatry in HIV

The care of individuals with HIV requires comprehensive treatment, both physical and mental health attention, including collaboration between primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and other specialists, and continued research into the neurocognitive sequelae of HIV in the brain.

The full text of all of APA position statements are posted at A report on the July APA Board of Trustees meeting will be featured in a future edition of Psychiatric News.

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