Sunday, 6 September 2009

MDMA/Ecstasy Trial for PTSS (Sandra Kanck Was Right)

South Australia had the chance but blew it and now Canada are going to take the honour. You might remember back in June 2008 when SA Democrat, Sandra Kanck recommended using MDMA (aka ecstasy) to treat Iraq war veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome(PTSS). She was heavily criticised and knocked as some sort of loopy, pro-drug activist. Sandra had previously suggested using MDMA for the victims of the Eyre Peninsula bushfires in 2006 and the response from parliament and the media was no different back then. Now it seems, those who criticised her are looking pretty damn stupid. Her very suggestions are being taken up by Canada by way of a trial of treating PTSS patients with MDMA.

Preliminary studies have shown that MDMA in conjunction with psychotherapy can help people overcome PTSD. MDMA has empathogenic effects, and it is also known as the popular drug Ecstasy (although "Ecstasy" does not always contain pure MDMA). In laboratory studies, MDMA has been proven sufficiently safe for human consumption when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses.
-Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

There were many who criticised Sandra Kanck simply for looking to our medical know-how to solve a medical problem. It was like being back at school where mob mentality took over the playground and some poor kid copped hell for being different. Sandra was mocked and made fun by many so called adults in a disgusting display of ignorance and political point scoring. From the media to Veterans' Affairs Minister, Michael Atkinson. From Veteran groups to her own party. They all joined in without researching a thing. And now they must feel like absolute morons as another country initiates her suggestions. How long will Australia suffer from ignorance and fear? How long will our policies be decided by narrow minded, ideological, self righteous fools? I fear that it will be long after the rest of the world changes.

Landmark B.C. study lets trauma sufferers find relief with ecstasy
The Globe and Mail
By Frances Bula
September 2009

Vancouver therapists get green light to use drug in trial to treat post-traumatic stress

Two Vancouver therapists have become the first Canadians to be permitted to give ecstasy to patients in a scientific trial aimed at finding new ways to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Psychologist Andrew Feldmar and psychiatrist Ingrid Pacey, with the help of the Boston-based organization Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, also known as MAPS, are recruiting 12 people to take part in the trial, which they hope might include Canadian soldiers and police officers.

Mr. Feldmar said that like Vancouver's supervised-injection site, the trial has obtained an exemption from Canada's narcotics laws, and is waiting for an import permit for the Swiss-manufactured drug.

The Vancouver experiment is part of small but growing international movement to use drugs such as LSD, MDMA or ecstasy, and psylocibin as part of therapeutic treatment, which has received significant backing from MAPS. The organization, founded in 1986, is a non-profit focused on lobbying to have psychedelic drugs and marijuana used for treatment.

“There is a new interest,” said Mr. Feldmar, who worked at Vancouver's Hollywood Hospital in the 1960s when it used LSD as a treatment for alcoholism. “These substances are extremely effective. It was just when they were used irresponsibly that it created a senseless panic.”

MDMA was first synthesized by Merck Pharmaceuticals in 1912, but was rediscovered in the 1960s. It was considered an aid to psychotherapy before it was popularized as a party drug.

Mr. Feldmar said MDMA, often defined as an entheogen or psychoactive drug used to induce a mystical experience, helps people with post-traumatic stress disorder by breaking down barriers that are blocking their recovery.

He said it allows them to experience a sense of being in the present, of feeling connected to their therapist, and of feeling supported and loved.

“You feel connected, therefore you feel able to go back and deal with the trauma.”

MAPS executive director Rick Doblin said a U.S. trial in Charleston, S.C., recently ended, and “it got tremendous results,” although they haven't been published in a science journal yet.

Small studies have already been done in Israel and Switzerland along the same lines, he said. A study in Spain had to be cancelled after running into opposition there.

An article published this year in the Journal of Psychopharmacology noted the two trials showed initial signs of promise in treating trauma.

Authors Pal-Orjan Johansen and Teri Krebs of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology looked at the three effects MDMA has on brain chemistry:

- It boosts levels of oxytocin, which is what produces the feelings of connectedness and warmth that people on ecstacy experience.

- It balances two regions of the brain, helping a person to control emotional responses better.

- It boosts levels of cortisol and norepinephrine, which control emotional learning.

Mr. Doblin said MAPS designed the Vancouver study, got it through the regulatory process, and will now start raising the $200,000 needed to run it. Eight of the 12 patients will get full-strength doses of ecstacy up to three times during their treatment, while four will get a placebo.

“We want to see if we can replicate the U.S. results in a similar cultural context,” he said. “Also, it's important to start research in Canada, because you have a tradition of being pioneering in psychedelic research.”

Mr. Doblin said Mr. Feldmar and Dr. Pacey are exceptionally qualified therapists, which made them ideal for the trial.

The two have sent out messages to other Vancouver therapists to recruit patients for the trial. Mr. Feldmar said that could include Afghan war veterans, police, firefighters, people who have been victims of crime, or immigrants who have been tortured in their home countries.

Mr. Feldmar achieved minor fame in 2007, after it was made public that he had been barred from entering the United States when a border guard searched online for his name and found that he had written an article saying he had taken LSD in the 1960s before it became illegal. His story was later featured on The Colbert Report show.

Related Articles:
Ecstasy Is The Key To Treating PTSD - The Times(UK)
Drug Hysteria Ignores Trauma Suffering
Agony or Ecstasy – Drug Trials Show Patient Benefits


AlyGurl said...

an interesting point... if they prove it works i dont see a problem with it. Drugs are made to help people, we might as well use them for something.

Terry Wright said...

Sorry, AlyGurl.
I must have missed your comment. I suppose it's better late than never.

YOU have an excellent point too - "Drugs are made to help people, we might as well use them for something".

I find it amazing that a 16 year old can see this but our so called leaders are too thick or too busy gathering votes. Well said, AlyGurl!!!