This country will allow psychedelics for depression treatment from today, a first

Australia has become the world’s first country to allow doctors to prescribe MDMA and magic mushrooms to treat as depression and Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD). The controversial move came into force today but was taken in February earlier this year. Australia’s drug watchdog Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved the move after almost three years of deliberation and consultation with experts. Although, authorities said that they will continue to closely monitor the cases.

Australia's drug watchdog approved the move.(Representational)
Australia’s drug watchdog approved the move.(Representational)

What is MDMA and magic mushrooms?

MDMA is a synthetic drug which is also called “molly” or “ecstasy”. Magic mushrooms are known for giving an excessively trippy experience to the user due to the presence of “psilocybin”. Both drugs are “prohibited substances” currently and are used in closely controlled clinical trials in Australia.

Advocates of the decision believe that the drug can also be used for treating eating disorders, alcohol dependence and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What do critics of the move say?

Critics are concerned that there is insufficient research to show that the drugs are helpful in treating depression and PTSD.

“It’s not for everybody. We need to work out who these people are that are going to have bad experiences, and not recommend it,” Susan Rossell, a psychiatrist at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne told Nature.

“Instead, it seems the TGA has yielded to pressure from the public and lobby groups to increase access to these experimental treatments, outside of clinical trials. Sufficient levels of evidence have not yet been generated for broad-scale implementation to be justified,” the expert said.