How a Psychedelics Call-In Line is Helping People Trip Better

It was Shawn’s first time tripping on psilocybin mushrooms. He took them with friends, but hours later, they’d all gone home or fallen asleep. Overwhelmed by the energy of two quarreling dogs, he took refuge in the basement, where his brain found patterns in everything he saw. He couldn’t stop thinking in maddening loops. It was past midnight, the trip wouldn’t end, and nobody was around to help. He was terrified of being trapped alone with his hyperactive mind.

Where could Shawn turn?

Prior to this April, he might have just kept spiraling. Today, a Google search would turn up the number for the Psychedelic Peer Support Line, sponsored by Fireside Project, launched in April as a one-year pilot offering limited hours Thursdays through Mondays. The support line, which can be reached by texting or calling 62-FIRESIDE (623-473-7433), was envisioned by former lawyer Joshua White in the early months of the pandemic, when the possibility of widespread psychedelic healing was the one thing giving him hope. White is now the executive director of Fireside Project, which coordinates the line, connecting callers and texters with trained volunteers who can help them endure and learn from challenging encounters with psilocybin, LSD, and other psychedelics.

It goes beyond bad trip prevention. Through the hotline — which also supports sober people who are trip-sitting their friends, and those wishing to process past experiences — Fireside aims to promote a holistic approach to preparing for, enjoying, and integrating psychedelic experiences. Their mission feels increasingly urgent as substances like psilocybin and MDMA are decriminalized or legalized in numerous cities and states, and research touts their potential for sensational therapeutic benefits.

“More people are discovering psychedelics,” says Dr. Katrina Michelle, former director of harm reduction at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and a Fireside Project advisor. “They may have heard something on the news about how they have healing properties.” But headlines don’t tell the whole story, and people tripping without proper support can unearth traumas they’re not prepared to handle. By making peer support widely available, says Michelle, Fireside’s hotline helps with “cultivating communities that can appreciate the entire process and support one another through it.”

Rolling Stone

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content