SAN FRANCISCO—Fireside Project, a 24/7 peer supported psychedelic hotline, is expected to launch in April 2021.

The nonprofit is dedicated specifically to helping people navigate psychedelic experiences. It will offer free confidential services by phone, text message, and live chat to help individuals with a range of topics, from supporting someone who has taken a psychedelic substance to those who want to discuss a past experience.

Fireside Project works closely with the Zendo Project, an arm of the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The Zendo Project has provided in person support to thousands of people at festivals and other events.

It will compliment those services provided by the Zendo Project to allow more people to have access to support for their experiences.

The nonprofit was founded by Joshua White in October 2020. White, a Deputy City Attorney at the San Francisco City’s Attorney Office, said in a post on Medium that years ago he considered leaving his career as a lawyer to become a psychedelic therapist. While volunteering at a San Francisco-based local hotline, he was blown away by how deeply healing it can be for people to have someone call them every week and just listen.

White described feeling depressed during the start of the pandemic. He called the crisis hotline and asked himself ‘What gives me hope for the world?’

White reported that the answer came to him immediately: the psychedelic movement.

“My hope is that Fireside Project will be a gift to anyone having a psychedelic experience who needs connection and support,” said White.

According to the Associated Press, studies have shown positive results when using psychedelic substances to help treat mental health conditions. Magic mushrooms have been used in religious or spiritual practices in some cultures for centuries. The mushrooms contain psilocybin, which is responsible for the psychedelic effect.

On November 3, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin for mental health treatment. California State Senator Scott Weiner recently introduced a bill aimed at decriminalizing psychedelics. Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Denver have all effectively decriminalized the possession of psychedelic mushrooms.

“The war on drugs has been a disaster, in terms of bloating low enforcement, tearing apart communities, criminalizing addiction and spending enormous amounts of money on prison,” Wiener said. “We need to end the war on drugs. Possession of drugs should just not be a crime.”