Australia Considers Using Psychedelics to Treat Mental Disorders Among Veterans

June 22, 2020 08:43:11

The Australian Department of Veterans Affairs (“DVA”) is considering a request to grant Defense Force veterans access to psychedelic drugs like psilocybin and MDMA to treat a host of mental disorders like depression, PTSD, anxiety and addiction.

42-year old Joel Harrop is one such veteran who turned to psychedelics after conventional medications couldn’t ease his anxiety, manic depressive disorder and PTSD brought on during his service in the armed forces.

When Harrop started psychedelic therapy, he was once again able to leave the house, meet friends and start leading a relatively normal life after being unable to leave his home due to his symptoms.

Mind Medicine Australia, a nonprofit founded by philanthropists Peter Hunt and Tania de Jong, wants to bring psychedelics to more veterans so that they too can enjoy the benefits that Joel Harrop experienced when he started his treatment.

Hunt and de Jong had a meeting in Canberra with the chief health officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs shortly before the coronavirus outbreak hit Australia and other parts of the world.

The couple are confident that their proposal is being given serious thought given the high incidence of mental health disorders among police officers, firefighters, defense veterans and paramedics.

Psychedelic therapy involves combining psychotherapy with psychedelics, such as psilocybin or MDMA, to help a person reboot their brain and develop new neural pathways.

However, psychedelics are still largely controversial as a treatment modality since these drugs have been prohibited for about 50 years. Critics insist lots of research is required to get a full understanding of the substances before they can be considered as a medicine for mental health conditions.

Mind Medicine Australia is hoping that they can get special access from the Therapeutic Goods Administration since psychedelics are currently classified as substances with no known therapeutic use.

The special access they are seeking isn’t unprecedented as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) granted these drugs “breakthrough therapy” status a couple of years ago.

The drugs have shown great potential when they are administered under medical supervision, and veterans like Joel Harrop also want their colleagues to get a chance to experience the transformation which psychedelics can bring to people suffering with mental health conditions that conventional medications appear to be unable to treat.

Analysts say that desire to help people who are suffering is the same driving force behind the work being done by psychedelics companies like Salvation Botanicals and Pure Extracts Corp.

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