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Australian Psychiatrists Provide First Psychedelic-Assisted Medical Treatments In 50 Years

Australian Psychiatrists Provide First Psychedelic-Assisted Medical Treatments In 50 Years

The new treatments, given to two people under the guidance of Dr. Eli Kotler and Dr. Ted Cassidy, are framed within Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) program authorizing psychiatrists to provide these medicines for specific mental health conditions.

Kotler and Cassidy, early graduates of Mind Medicine Australia (MMA) in psychedelic-assisted therapies, also supplied the psychedelics to the patients who were treated in Melbourne.

The TGA’s decision to reschedule MDMA and psilocybin in February 2023 meant the reclassification of MDMA and psilocybin from Schedule 9 (poisons) to Schedule 8 (controlled substances) on a restricted basis.

Starting July 1, 2023, psychiatrists become authorized prescribers for both psychedelic therapies as part of the protocol for patients with treatment-resistant depression (psilocybin) and treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (MDMA.)

“This is a hopeful step toward a mental health system that heals humans rather than treats psychiatric disorders, and which values integration over managing symptoms,” stated Dr. Eli Kotler.

MMA has accepted numerous applications from Australians seeking access to treatments since March 2022. A growing body of evidence on psychedelic-assisted therapies has been helpful to those with treatment-resistant psychiatric conditions. Available treatments are limited to these patients.

Executive director of MMA Tania de Jong was grateful to “the tens of thousands of Australians, Ambassadors, advisory panel, team and board for their extraordinary support in helping us achieve this historic moment.” 

Although treatment availability is limited, these sessions represent the first step in the Australian healthcare system’s incorporation of psychedelic-assisted therapies as a treatment option for people with long-term suffering. Or, as MMA’s chair Peter Hunt AM said, “the beginning of a major shift in our mental healthcare system.”

Photo: Benzinga edit with photo by New Africa, GillianVann and Arif_Vector on Shutterstock.