Denver’s First Responders Receive Specialized Training In Psychedelic Crisis Response From MAPS

In a groundbreaking move, the Denver Police Department, Emergency Medical Services personnel, and mental health responders will soon undergo specialized training in Psychedelic Crisis Assessment and Intervention, provided by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). This unique training initiative aims to empower first responders with the essential knowledge and skills required to effectively manage emotional and behavioral crises related to the use of psilocybin and other psychedelics.

MAPS, a leading organization in psychedelic research and educational initiatives, has been commissioned by the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel (DPMPRP) to design and deliver this innovative training program. The DPMPRP was established following the historic passage of Ordinance 301 in May 2019, which marked the effective decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms within Denver.

The Psychedelic Crisis Assessment and Intervention training is specifically tailored to address the needs of various first responder departments, ensuring they have the tools and understanding necessary to mitigate risks and liabilities associated with psychoactive substance use. Each department will receive a customized version of the training to best serve their unique roles and responsibilities.

The comprehensive curriculum covers topics such as:

  • The psychological and physiological effects of ingesting psilocybin, found in “magic mushrooms”
  • Potential adverse reactions to psilocybin
  • Best practices and techniques for assessing, de-escalating, and managing psychedelic crises
  • Historical context and broader applications of psychedelics

By equipping first responders with this vital information, the community can benefit from safer and more compassionate responses during psychedelic-related emergencies. Sara Gael, a former harm reduction officer with MAPS who played a significant role in developing the program, stated, “This program not only prepares our first responders to handle psilocybin-related crises efficiently but also demonstrates Denver’s progressive leadership in creating a model for other cities to follow.”

The development of this training program took over three years and involved contributions from more than 20 experts in fields like law, medicine, psychiatry, mental health, neuropsychopharmacology, law enforcement, crisis response, quality improvement, and education. The final product consists of asynchronous video lessons accompanied by assessments to ensure maximum engagement and retention among participants.


With Colorado recently making strides in drug reform, the timing of this training rollout couldn’t be better. In 2022, voters passed measures both legalizing psychedelic therapy and decriminalizing five different substances at the ballot box. Decriminalization has already taken effect, paving the way for a burgeoning legal industry surrounding psilocybin-assisted therapy. Regulatory frameworks for occupational licensing are currently being drafted, and psilocybin therapy centers are anticipated to open in 2025.