British Prof. David Nutt Talks About Need For Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy During Australia Visit

British neuropsychopharmacologist professor David Nutt is in Australia advocating for the use of regulatory-approved and evidence-based psychedelic-assisted therapies along with the nonprofit Mind Medicine Australia (MMA.)

"There's a ridiculous resistance to accepting the fact that psilocybin and MDMA are revolutionary treatments which should be available now to save people's lives. I've done a lot of research on how these drugs work and with depression with psilocybin, we now know it works in a completely different way to traditional drugs," Nutt stated.

The Imperial College London professor is giving several talks around the country, besides having met with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and federal health minister Mark Butler in Canberra earlier this week, as The Canberra Times reported.

The administration, which is being requested to reschedule psychedelics for therapeutic purposes, had priorly made an interim decision to reject the reclassification over what they said is “currently limited evidence of benefit (of MDMA and psilocybin),” but MMA hopes officials will change their minds.

On the other hand, the country’s National Science Agency CSIRO and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists are of the opinion that further research is needed to prove psychedelic-assisted therapies’ efficacy and safety.

At a local level, Victoria officials were recently considering banning federal psychedelic medicine permits provided by the TGA. 

Nonetheless, the ACT government -which now applies the TGA’s special permits plan- is currently considering legislation changes for psychedelic therapy to be used in treatments of PTSD and depression.

Severe Case Of Depression

Vanessa's husband, Franco, came down with a severe form of depression four years ago. Since then, he was hospitalized several times for a total of 19 months during which time he was on 19 different antidepressants, anti-psychotics, she told The Canberra Times.

Her attempts to help her husband led her to the work of Prof. Nutt. Based in Sidney, Vanessa relentlessly tried getting access to psychedelics for months, as well as trying to find a psychiatrist who was “willing to try and get, on compassionate grounds, access to this treatment because otherwise, I was losing my husband."

As Vanessa explained, access to MDMA and psilocybin can be obtained on compassionate grounds. The paradox is that, while psychedelics “are available everywhere,” each state is in charge of administering them, and none “will allow you to take those drugs.”

"Because I am a conscious citizen, I didn't want to break the law and in the end the consequences were that my husband took his own life," Vanessa said.

The case resounded and Prof. Nutt stated that the decision to deny access to psychedelic medicine was "criminal" and "sadistic".

"We're not talking about recreational use, we're talking about medical use in medical practice. It's almost inconceivable there is going to be any harm in these drugs at all. They should be available to help people like Vanessa's husband who has failed on all the other treatments that are more harmful to him than these treatments,” he further concluded.

Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

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