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Australia's The First Country To Allow MDMA And Psilocybin For Medical Use

7 February 2023 | 12:25 pm | Parry Tritsiniotis

“So this is a baby step in the right direction."

The Therapeutic Goods Association has announced that from July 1st of this year, psychiatrists will be able to prescribe MDMA for treatment of PTSD and psilocybin to treat depression.

It means that Australia will be the first country in the world to approve the drugs for medical treatment.

Speaking to The Guardian the associate professor at The Royal Australian and New Zealand College Of Psychiatrists Vinay Lakra said they had been monitoring research in the area and that the field, "need to take some baby steps rather than one giant leap.”

“So this is a baby step in the right direction and what it does is allow us to do things in an appropriately safe way for everyone … and if necessary take a step back as well.”

In order to prescribe the drugs, psychiatrists will need to attain approval by a human resarch ethics communal, then be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association. To be approved they must demonstrate their training, patient monitoring and robust patient selection.

In a statement the TGA stated, "These measures are necessary because there is only limited evidence that the substances are of benefit in treating mental illnesses, and only in controlled medical settings.

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“In addition, patients may be vulnerable during psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy because of their altered state of consciousness.

It continued, "Prescribing will be limited to psychiatrists, given their specialised qualifications and expertise to diagnose and treat patients with serious mental health conditions.

"The decision specifically recognises the current lack of options for patients with specific treatment-resistant mental illnesses and the supporting evidence of safety and efficacy from clinical trials.”

Clinical senior lecturer in emergency Medicine at Australian National University, Dr David Caldicott stated that, “The safe ‘re-medicalisation’ of certain historically illicit drugs is a very welcome step away from what has been decades of demonisation.

“In addition to a clear and evolving therapeutic benefit, it also offers the chance to catch up on the decades of lost opportunity [of] delving into the inner workings of the human mind, abandoned for so long as part of an ill-conceived, ideological ‘war on drugs’.”