Drugs are being used as actual drugs?
On Tuesday, Nov. 29, the Food and Drug Administration approved large-scale Phase 3 trials for the use of MDMA to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in patients.
MDMA is short for 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, which is a psychoactive drug that has been banned as a Schedule 1 drug since 1985.
It was initially banned for public abuse, despite growing research that showed promising usage as a catalyst in psychotherapy.
In the results of one study of 19 patients, two-thirds no longer met criteria of having PTSD. These results were followed for results a year later, and researchers found that the subjects had continued to improve after the end of the study.
According to C.J. Hardin, one of the patients interviewed by The New York Times, “It changed my life. It allowed me to see my trauma without fear or hesitation and finally process things and move forward.”
Post-traumatic stress disorder affects more than 24 million people, according to PTSD United.
The legalization of a drug that could potentially help two-thirds of these patients would be an amazing breakthrough.
This news raises the question of whether the use of these drugs would be safe considering their status as controlled substances. Is it safe to allow these drugs for prescription?
Considering that the majority of mental health medications cause a variety of wonderful side-effects, there doesn’t seem to be any degree of safety when treating mental health issues. The
most commonly prescribed drugs for depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, list drowsiness, dizziness and nausea as some side-effects.
It also should be considered that in the study, patients were administered only three doses of MDMA during their treatment, which was combined with other therapies for the disorder.
There is much less potential risk that patients would abuse the drug because it was used only in a controlled environment.
It also seems healthier to only be exposed to the substance three times and experience healing, rather than gain relief through daily use of a powerful substance that alters the chemicals of the brain.
There will still be extensive tests completed before legalization for medical use of MDMA, but the idea of using a restricted substance to treat a mental health disorder that has obtained extremely successful results from minimal trials makes me question why this hasn’t been done earlier.
In my own experience, I have watched friends and family struggle in dealing with their mental health, constantly tormented by terrible side effects of medications that made them feel OK at best.
I would rather that they only have to go see a doctor a few times than continue to spend every day fighting to feel subpar at best.