Natalie Gutierrez | Staff Writer
The FIU Psychedelic Club is honing in on the intersection between traditional health treatments and alternative treatments involving psychedelics.
To kick-start their first general body meeting of the spring semester, the FIU Psychedelic Club hosted an online Q&A discussion on Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. The guest speaker, Deborah McCauley, led the Q&A and answered students’ questions related to psychedelics research. She touched on the decriminalization and the de-stigmatization of psychedelics as alternative treatment options. McCauley encouraged attendees to take legislative action if they feel strongly about decriminalizing the medical and recreational use of these drugs.
“Your network is going to be your best base point… Get involved in volunteering and be the fly on the wall. Keep meeting and talking to people, be curious, ask questions, and do your own research. Keep that balance and always be willing to pivot,” said McCauley.
With more than 25 years of experience in the medical field, McCauley has served as a combat medic veteran, emergency medical technician, and registered nurse. Her extensive medical background has given her a comprehensive grasp of health and wellness.
In 2019, McCauley founded NurseDebb, a consulting firm whose mission is to change the legal landscape as it relates to the healthcare industry and policy development.
“NurseDebb was formed out of a desire to help people and provide my expertise to those who needed more data and information,” said McCauley.
Courtesy of Deborah McCauley
McCauley’s lobbying ventures and views align with the FIU Psychedelic Club. The club’s overarching goal is to challenge preconceived notions about earth medicines and explore their potential to positively impact patients, especially those dealing with mental health struggles.
“Seeing the science and research studies on psychedelics come to fruition… it would be remiss of us to ignore the data showing its efficacy. When it comes to mental health, it is about a perspective shift,” said McCauley.
The president of the club, Christina Cabrera-Elizondo, first met McCauley at Cannadelic Miami, a two-day cannabis and psychedelic conference.
“I think this is important to myself and the club because this is our first guest speaker who is a veteran nurse,” said Cabrera-Elizondo.“It gives us an opportunity to get a different point of view and inspiration for students, especially those on the pre-health track.”
“Deb is a perfect fit to start the discussion and give insight into her experience in the psychedelic space,” said Cabrera-Elizondo.
When asked about the opportunity to speak with college students, McCauley expressed interest in learning from these students and sharing knowledge of her own.
“I look forward to learning from students and hope to impart some of my wisdom. If you can’t change your perspective, you can’t change your mind,” said McCauley.“When I was in college, I never got the knowledge base or the push to explore psychedelics. It was always a taboo discussion.”
“By being more vocal, hopefully, I can open some eyes and make some changes.”
The club invites guest speakers to educate students on psychedelic drugs and treatment. More importantly, the club aims to engender a dialogue about psychedelics as possible facilitators for psychotherapy or other forms of therapy.
“I always look forward to having any guest speaker. It is an opportunity for any student in attendance to hear from someone who is in this field and has real-world experience. You’re able to ask questions and interact with these speakers. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Cabrera-Elizondo.
You can learn more about the FIU Psychedelic Club on Instagram (@fiupsychedelics) and PantherConnect (https://fiu.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/fiupsychedelicclub).