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We can make integrity feel like gravity as psychedelics enter the commercial phase. The pledge is a first step, a commitment by individuals to put ethics at the heart of their work in the field.
North Star Ethics Pledge
About North Star
North Star is a non-profit initiative incubated by Auryn Project dedicated to seeing an ethics-first, patient-focused approach in the emerging psychedelic field. The North Star team is comprised of five psychedelic advocates representing different coalitions in the field, including a clinician, facilitator and trained sitter, a drug policy activist, an investor (with no financial interests at stake), a business operations specialist, and an artist and storyteller.

North Star is proudly a women-led initiative, with women holding the positions of executive director and board chair. The organization is comprised of three women and two men, of which two identify as people of color and three identify as white.

During the six months of the pledge creation process two team members worked full time while three worked on North Star in addition to other full time commitments. Four team members have volunteered their time throughout this process, and one has been paid a part time rate through April, 2020. North Star is currently fundraising to better operationalize its work. However, to date, North Star has been supported by grants from founding members, and the generous donations of a handful of supporters.
Pledge Creation Process
The North Star team came together after the publishing of We Will Call It Pala. Each of us saw a need to raise a critical dialogue around integrity in the commercialization of psychedelics. We shared a concern that unethical actors were going to not only seize power, but control the narrative and shape the culture of the emerging field. We believed there might be a better way.

Thus began a six month process of community dialogue. It started with a dinner with twenty of the elders we respect and admire most, asking questions around their hopes and fears for this moment in psychedelics, and what they'd like to see done. Similar dinners happened with clinicians and therapists, asking for their perspectives on commercialization and what would support them in this time, and investors oriented around impact. Here a concern was raised of a "nuclear arms race" effect, where unethical actors would have a competitive advantage to seize power, rapidly scale and control the narrative.

During this time gathering perspective, the North Star team was distilling the feedback into categories, the basis for the principles, and researching other examples of ethics commitments across industries and time. From that point forward the pledge went through four drafts, with one on one feedback with dozens and dozens of stakeholders representing different coalitions in the field.

The pledge is only a beginning. It is participatory and not prescriptive. It serves as a foundation for conversations around integrity and ethics. How impactful the pledge is depends on the earnest efforts we all make to put its principles into action every day. The pledge serves as a starting point for helping people step into their power in shaping the culture of the emerging psychedelic field.
What about a certifying seal?
The enthusiasm expressed by some stakeholders for prescriptive ethical standards, and even a certifying seal, provides a working direction for North Star. North Star's role is not to be the arbiter of such standards, but a steward of the process, soliciting perspectives, considerations, and feedback. Such essential work will only be done if stakeholders across the field believe it is necessary, and are willing to raise their hands in helping to get it done. If that work, or other key initiatives around integrity are important to you, please reach out.
Organizations & Accountability
The culture of any organization starts with its people. Organizational values are an extension of the individuals making business decisions day-to-day. The North Star pledge does not refer to organizations. However, individuals may use it as a tool for engaging their workplaces on key questions around integrity and ethics.

North Star will form a working group to evaluate the feasibility and define the requirements to create accountability around ethics at the organizational level. Signatories will be invited to contribute to the development of criteria and metrics to measure an organization's adherence to ethics. We believe in an inclusive-stakeholder approach to creating principles and standards. If bringing accountability into organizations is important to you, please reach out.
Stay Connected
North Star Ethics Pledge is a step in the process of centering integrity in the emerging field of psychedelics. Enter your email to stay up to date on the pledge, resource development, and the North Star community.
The North Star Ethics Pledge, created by North Star, a non-profit incubated by Auryn Project, is a first step in the larger process of centering integrity in the emerging psychedelic field. The pledge is participatory, not prescriptive. Its purpose is to help individuals step into their own power in shaping the culture of the field. It invites people into a dialogue with themselves and others around what it means to center ethics at the heart of their work.
What is the intention?
The pledge was created over a six month process, with input from more than one hundred stakeholders from the many coalitions in the field. Given how divergent the perspectives of these stakeholders can be, different people will find it flawed for different reasons. The pledge serves as a baseline for more substantive conversation and action on this topic. North Star invites ongoing feedback on the pledge, on the organization, and key initiatives to help center integrity and ethics.
How was the pledge created?
The pledge is only the beginning. Its value depends on the effort we make to put its principles into action every day. We can all use our voices, platforms, and influence to center ethics in the professional culture. The pledge supports this work, as a basis for professional engagements, to inform decision making, and to inspire action.

Signatories have access to the North Star community, a values-aligned professional network dedicated to shaping the culture of the psychedelic field around integrity. The community serves as a structure to support identifying the field's critical challenges and creating ethics-first, patient-focused solutions. If you feel motivated to help with key initiatives on this topic, please add your input here.
Where do we go from here?
North Star
Ethics Pledge
The North Star Ethics Pledge is a commitment to a set of principles for individuals working professionally in the field of psychedelics
Principles:
1
I pledge to ground my work in the field with work on myself, and to treat personal growth as a lifelong process.
Start Within
--
We can lead by example starting with our own self work, centering this practice as core to the professional culture of the psychedelic field.

Possible Actions:
  • Engage in the work of seeking to understand my full self, recognizing that there are undiscovered biases, blind spots, desires, motivations and intentions that influence my decisions and actions. Work to explore, understand, and resolve these.
  • Where legal and applicable, and with skilled facilitators, I will develop my relationship with the psychedelic compound(s), especially the ones my professional work centers around.
  • Seek mentorship and guidance from people in the field whom I respect, both inside and outside of my network, to seek feedback that will help me grow.
  • Make my commitments to ethical action public to my team, organization, stakeholders, customers or clients, and community.
  • Make a practice around personal growth, using resources like therapy, breathwork, and mindfulness training to continue to go deeper.
Each of us will choose how to center ethics in our work in the psychedelic field. The above are possible actions for this principle.
    Possible Actions
    2
    I pledge to grow my knowledge of the history of psychedelics and their many traditions of use, in a good-faith effort to appreciate both the potential of these substances and the conflict and complexity surrounding them.
    Study the Traditions
    --
    Psychedelics have a complicated history, spanning many cultures and millennia. That history is full of hope as well as harm. It provides essential context. I will do my best to understand it.

    Possible Actions:
    • Study the history of psychedelics, with the goal of appreciating and understanding the diverse perspectives, especially the ones I am inclined to disagree with.
    • Study the history of indigenous use of psychedelics, and listen to the perspectives of indigenous peoples on psychedelic use today.
    • Understand the sacrifices in time, resources, and in some cases lives, that made the mainstreaming of psychedelics possible.
    • Explore the history of psychedelics in the West, including the scientific research and cultural uses, to understand the controversy around these substances. Consider the lessons that apply today.
    • Learn about the history of drug policy, including the history and implications of prohibition, the social and political consequences that continue today, and the drug policy reform movement. I will consider questions around integrity and ethics in the ways my work intersects with this history and with its impacts today.
    Each of us will choose how to center ethics in our work in the psychedelic field. The above are possible actions for this principle.
      Possible Actions
      I pledge to invest in building trust in my relationships across the psychedelic field, and repair trust where possible.
      Build Trust
      3
      --
      Trust builds relationships. Relationships drive action. Action creates change. This means change moves at the speed of trust.

      Possible Actions:
      • Learn tools for effective communication, feedback and accountability, and transparency to strengthen trust. Actively solicit constructive criticism and critical feedback.
      • Ask myself key questions: How am I building trust across the psychedelic field? Are there relationships I have that need mending? How could I repair them? Are there relationships that I should consider initiating?
      • Start from a place of trust and assume best intentions in others. Remain open to difficult conversations and honest dialogue, and refrain from gossip. If needed, l seek third party mediation.
      • Take steps to ensure I understand and engage with the people impacted by my work, to be sure I know their perspectives. Keep those channels of communication open where possible.
      • Lean into conflict and tension, recognizing them as pathways to growth. Do my best to understand the principle of what someone is telling me regardless of the tone.
      Each of us will choose how to center ethics in our work in the psychedelic field. The above are possible actions for this principle.
        Possible Actions
        I pledge to consider the implications of the choices that I make, understanding the potential consequences of unethical behavior to individuals, communities, and the psychedelic field at large.
        Consider the Gravity
        4
        --
        Five years from now it is possible that millions of people have safe, ethical, legal access to psychedelic healing. It is also possible that mistakes, accidents and unethical decisions could reset the regulatory paradigm, halting the momentum toward legal psychedelic access. The responsibility to ensure this does not happen rests with each of us.

        Possible Actions:
        • Put patients first, recognizing the need to make high-quality treatment accessible and affordable for all those who can benefit.
        • Study the history, the precarious legal standing, and the enduring cultural stigma of psychedelics. I will ask key questions: What are the implications of unethical action in this space? How can I minimize risk?
        • Continue to emphasize the need for centering ethics and integrity in the emergent psychedelic field.
        • Study the incentives created by the economic model of my work, and examine the risks those incentives create, making plans to mitigate those risks, and asking a key question: are there ways my work is misaligned with the patient's interest or the public good?
        Each of us will choose how to center ethics in our work in the psychedelic field. The above are possible actions for this principle.
          Possible Actions
          I pledge to make the process as important as the outcome, letting the future I hope to see guide the approach I take in getting there.
          Focus on Process
          5
          --
          It is tempting to put ends over means when it comes to making a positive impact. I recognize that how I do something is as important as what I do.

          Possible Actions:
          • Ask people I care about to hold me accountable to my goal of being a model of ethical behavior
          • Be transparent in my thinking around decision making in key areas, creating a window for community input to build accountability.
          • Humbly own my mistakes and consider publishing a retrospective on how I intend to do things differently in future decisions and actions.
          • The commercialization of psychedelics will call us to make hard choices around ethics. It may come down to the difference between what is right and what is easy. Commit to choosing what is right.
          • Present the pledge for discussion at my organization to ask: How are we centering ethics and integrity? Where does our model potentially present risks? Are we satisfied with the way we center ethics in our decision making process?
          Each of us will choose how to center ethics in our work in the psychedelic field. The above are possible actions for this principle.
            Possible Actions
            I pledge to actively take steps to make the world more equitable and just.
            Create Equality & Justice
            6
            --
            We want a world that works for everyone. Right now, that's not the case. We would do well to look for ways to bring about that goal.

            Possible Actions:
            • Examine the places I have personal, organizational, and societal power, and whenever possible use my position to lift others up.
            • Empower diverse leadership within my organization.
            • Appreciate that everyone's worldview has limitations, and work to seek out and empathize with perspectives different from my own.
            • Consider adopting Environmental, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) Metrics and work with my organization to proactively report on progress.
            • If I have a supply chain, analyze it for sustainability and environmental issues, as well as for ethical employment practices throughout.
            Each of us will choose how to center ethics in our work in the psychedelic field. The above are possible actions for this principle.
              Possible Actions
              I pledge to support the flourishing of the psychedelic field and the communities in which I work, and to give back should my work lead to personal gain.
              Pay it Forward
              7
              --
              The field of psychedelics stands on the shoulders of many individuals who devoted their lives to their work, as a labor of love and for the benefit of all, and often with great personal sacrifice. As beneficiaries of this work, we can show our gratitude through giving back to help the whole field move forward.

              Possible Actions:
              • Where applicable, work with my organization to dedicate a percentage of profits to support the people or groups on whose effort and sacrifice the field now stands, such as giving back to Native Communities, and/or supporting the non-profits and universities advancing the field at large.
              • Consider committing to the statement on open science, OR, alternatively, sharing my thinking on why I am not committing to it, factoring in the way my decision impacts the field at large.
              • Offer time, energy, and resources to support the thriving of my local community.
              • Not only seek mentorship, but be a mentor to others and use my learning and experiences to help other people grow.
              • Where applicable, share learnings, tools, resources and assets in the public domain in service of advancing the field at large.
              Each of us will choose how to center ethics in our work in the psychedelic field. The above are possible actions for this principle.
                Possible Actions
                I commit to the practice of upholding the principles of this pledge, to share the values in it with others, and do my part to help build integrity and ethics into the heart of the emerging psychedelic field.
                Signatory
                Commitment
                The signatory response is an opportunity to add your voice to the conversation around ethics. Responses to the following may be published on the North Star website: What does putting this pledge into action look like for you?
                Signatory
                Response
                Name
                Organization (Optional)
                E-mail
                Signatory Response (Optional)
                What does putting this pledge into action look like for you?
                We protect your data like it is our own
                The enthusiasm expressed by some stakeholders for prescriptive ethical standards, and even a certifying seal, provides a working direction for North Star. North Star's role is not to be the arbiter of such standards, but a steward of the process, soliciting perspectives, considerations, and feedback. Such essential work will only be done if stakeholders across the field believe it is necessary, and are willing to raise their hands in helping to get it done. If that work, or other key initiatives around integrity are important to you, please reach out.
                What comes next?
                Everything North Star has done is rooted in community accountability and a never-ending process of inclusive stakeholding. The North Star Ethics Pledge was created with the input of more than one hundred stakeholders across the field. North Star's approach is to seek feedback and work continuously to improve. North Star invites ongoing critical input and dialogue on the pledge, and on the practical considerations around what acting with integrity should look like on an individual and organizational level. Click here to share ideas and feedback on the pledge.
                Community
                Accountability
                Psychedelics are achieving breakthrough outcomes in the kinds of healing the world desperately needs. COVID-19 only makes those needs more urgent. In the coming years psychedelic treatment may transform mental health and reach millions of suffering people.

                The business side of working with non-ordinary states of consciousness raises unique ethical questions. Unethical action could not only harm participants, but given the history and legal standing of psychedelics, could also lead to debilitating setbacks for the field. By centering integrity in the professional culture of the field, we can build a future where safe and legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics are available at scale.
                Why now?
                Raise Your Voice on Ethics
                The pledge is only the beginning. It is up to each of us to raise our voice on this critical topic. Together we can center integrity in the culture of the emerging psychedelic field.
                Our team is comprised of psychedelic advocates representing different coalitions in the field, including a clinician, facilitator and trained sitter, a drug policy activist, an investor, a business operations specialist, and an artist and storyteller.
                North Star Team
                North Star's goal is to support an ecosystem of heart-led, highly effective organizations advancing safe, legal, and affordable psychedelic medicine with an ethics-first, patient-focused approach.
                Co-Created with Auryn Project
                North Star is supported by Auryn Project, a 501(c)(3) incubator and accelerator for change-making organizations across the psychedelic field making a more just and equitable world.
                Auryn Project, North Star's parent non-profit, published We Will Call It Pala, a story exploring a potential future for the commercial phase of psychedelics. This story helps inform North Star's work.
                We Will Call It Pala
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