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Remembering Psychedelic Activist and Drug Policy Pioneer Sheri Eckert, 1961-2020

Remembering Psychedelic Activist and Drug Policy Pioneer Sheri Eckert, 1961-2020

The psychedelic community is mourning the sudden and tragic loss of therapist and psychedelic activist Sheri Eckert, who passed away in her sleep from cardiac arrest on December 17, 2020, at the age of 59. 

“She was a lifelong heart patient, but her passing was a terrible and unexpected shock,” writes her husband Tom Eckert on the Oregon Psilocybin Society Facebook page. 

Sheri and Tom co-founded The Oregon Psilocybin Society, an organization created to raise awareness about the benefits, safety, and risks of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. Sheri and Tom were the chief petitioners behind Measure 109, a recently passed landmark legislation that legalized psilocybin therapy under state law in Oregon. Psilocybin remains illegal under federal law.

On Facebook, Tom writes of her profound impact within the psychedelic community, and the future of mental healthcare:

“She conveyed her message not only in beautiful words, but in tireless deeds. Sheri overcame early traumas to commit the full measure of her time and energy to family, love, healing, and to recognizing our miraculous, transcendent nature. She worked on herself, and she worked with countless others who struggled – applying an uncanny ability to facilitate deep, personal transformations. And, in historic fashion, she changed the course of mental healthcare, by spearheading Oregon’s successful psilocybin therapy campaign.”

Sheri and Tom owned Innerwork, a Portland-based private psychotherapy practice. Through Innerwork, Eckerts ran a program called “Better Man” which has been shown to neutralize intimate partner and family violence. Sheri was also a member of the Family Violence Coordinating Council, a domestic violence intervention organization in Oregon.

The psychedelic feminist advocacy group Cosmic Sister awarded Sheri a Women of The Psychedelic Renaissance Grant, to present “Stepping into the Light: Psilocybin Science, Psychology, and Spirituality,” along with her husband, Tom, at Spirit Plant Medicine Conference, in Vancouver. 

Zoe Helene, founder of Cosmic Sister, remembers Sheri’s pioneering drug policy legacy in a Facebook post:

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“Sheri and her husband, Tom, created the Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon, a ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin therapy in 2020—and it PASSED! This is the HERstory legacy Sheri leaves behind—structural change that will ripple forward for generations.”

Requesting privacy during this time, Tom asks that those who’d like to show their condolences refrain from direct contact or flowers, and to instead “consider donating to the Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS), the charity that Sheri and I co-founded, to help us carry her legacy onward and begin the work that she made possible: that of bringing psilocybin assisted therapy, and the direct experience of the divine, to those in need of deep healing.”

Donations to OPS can be made here.

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