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Counter Culture / August 19, 2022

Drug-assisted therapy may be legal in the US by 2024

Counter Culture / August 19, 2022

Drug-assisted therapy may be legal in the US by 2024

Ciarán Howley

The Biden administration may legalise MDMA and shrooms to treat PTSD and depression, reveals a letter written by Mental Health and Substance Use secretary Miriam Dean.

A correspondence written in May 2022 by Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Miriam Dean reveals that the US government has been considering trialling drug-assisted therapeutic treatments.

In instances of severe post traumatic stress disorder and depression, hallucinogens like MDMA and psilocybin (the psychoactive found in magic mushrooms) may be used for breakthrough treatment. 

Dean, writing on behalf of SAMSHA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services America, wrote to Pennsylvania representative Madeleine Dean that, “too many Americans are suffering from mental health and substance use, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and that we must explore the potential of psychedelic assisted therapies.” 

US President Richard Nixon famously banned the drug under the 1970 Controlled Substance Act

According to the letter, shared with the public by political journal the Intercept SAMHSA are considering the establishment of a dedicated task force. This would regulate the facilitation of the service to the public in the areas of risk mitigation, safety monitoring and harm reduction. It’s estimated that 300 people per day die from drug overdoses and that 17 veteran soldiers suffering from PTSD commit suicide. 

Psychoactive drugs like acid have faced stigma in the US since their growth in popularity throughout the 1950s and 60s. It was later banned by the Nixon administration in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act, which remains in place today. The team are preparing for a bill that will potentially get the ball rolling, legalising domestic treatment for discharged soldiers who cannot afford it abroad. 

Famously, American author Aldous Huxley recited his experiences with the chemical mescaline, without medical assistance in his book The Doors of Perception to treat his schizophrenia. The book was later studied by medical teams studying the effect of the drug on mental health who were divided on its efficacy in the case of Huxley.

Elsehwhere on District: The Case for Decriminalising Drugs in Ireland