Psychedelic rehabilitation for drug policy and trauma survivors : advancing mental health care by granting access to MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder
Pyle, Lily Jarrett
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According to current international drug policy, psychedelic drugs share the same abuse and ad-dictability potential as heroin. The presumption is that acknowledging any different would not only pose a threat to the safety and health of society but would compromise established moral values. Legislators have created a campaign against psychedelics since their revival in the 1960s, fighting a war against an imagined evil. Refusing to allow space for possible therapeutic applications of psychedelic drugs prevents individuals from a better quality of life and therefore violates human rights. MDMA-assisted therapy (±3,4-Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) has been used successfully for year by an underground network of psychotherapist to treat PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). After its popularisation in the 1980s, it was given an emergency assignment as a schedule I substance and would arbitrarily remain classified in the most restrictive categorisa-tion. Drug policy continues to make research with MDMA a slow and expensive endeavour. Those suffering from PTSD still cannot access MDMA-assisted therapy despite its on-going 25-year development as a new drug with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). MDMA-assisted therapy is the single most effective, efficient, and humane treatment for PTSD and the possibly greatest innovation in psychiatric care with the past 100 years. This thesis will address how MDMA was illegally categorised as a schedule I substance and how legislators ignored the recommendations of the administrative judge, scientific evidence, and the criteria for scheduling substances. The scheduling of MDMA was a classic example of legal paternalism which impedes on personal autonomy, self-determination, and human dignity. Individuals should be afforded the right and responsibility to make informed decisions about their treatment options with the aid of an overseeing physician. The law cannot adequately as-sess the needs of each individual, especially when making uneducated decisions according to 'moral‘ code. When addressing the ethical concerns of MDMA, this thesis will demonstrate that this treatment is in fact more humane and respects the entirety of human rights.