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Australia to allow prescription of MDMA and psilocybin for treatment-resistant mental illnesses

From July, authorised psychiatrists will be able to prescribe the drugs for post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression

Tory Shepherd

Fri 3 Feb 2023 02.43 EST

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After decades of “demonisation”, psychiatrists will be able to prescribe MDMA and psilocybin in Australia from July this year.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration made the surprise announcement on Friday afternoon.

The drugs will only be allowed to be used in a very limited way, and remain otherwise prohibited, but the move was described as a “very welcome step away from what has been decades of demonisation” by Dr David Caldicott, a clinical senior lecturer in emergency medicine at Australian National University.

3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) is commonly known as ecstasy, while psilocybin is a psychedelic commonly found in so-called magic mushrooms.

Both drugs were used experimentally and therapeutically decades ago, before being criminalised.

Specifically authorised psychiatrists will be able to prescribe MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder, and psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression.