From July this year, authorised psychiatrists will be able to prescribe MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psilocybin (a compound found in “magic mushrooms”) for treatment-resistant depression, making Australia the first country in the world to do so.
To be very clear, the TGA is not approving these drugs for general use. Rather, it is allowing psychiatrists who are specifically authorized under the Authorised Prescriber scheme, to access these drugs for restricted use in a controlled medical setting.
In making this decision, the TGA recognised that there is a real need to access new therapies. This is because, for many sufferers of depression and PTSD across the country, traditional treatments do not work.
International studies into the use of psychedelics have shown promising results. However, it is generally understood by academics and practitioners alike that not enough research or data exists, particularly about the long-term effects, to make these drugs mainstream medication. Therefore, the TGA stressed that MDMA and psilocybin had only been approved for use under controlled medical settings by authorised psychiatrists. All other uses of these drugs remain prohibited.
To read the full article, click here TGA approves psilocybin and MDMA for use in treating depression and PTSD - ABC News
In broader terms, this move by the TGA is very interesting as it recognizes that illicit drugs, such as MDMA, whilst impairing, may have medical value. This has implications for workplace drug and alcohol programs as it continues to add complexity into how medicinal and illicit drug use is interpreted and actioned.
It also reinforces the fact that in this ever-changing environment, it is becoming increasingly important to keep yourself, managers, and staff up to date with factual information from a reliable, expert source. DASA’s team of doctors and scientists have developed a range of training and educational material, including webinars on hot topics, that can help keep you and your team plugged in. If you would like to be on our webinar invitation list, register your interest by clicking the below link.
DASA (Drug and Alcohol Solutions Australia) is proud to be leading the way in workplace drug and alcohol testing services throughout Australia. Whether your need is for workplace drug and workplace alcohol testing, advice on drug and alcohol policy or ideas on how to communicate your workplace expectations, policies and procedures to your staff, DASA can help. We have the experience, technical expertise and people to lead you to the right solution.