Trip down under: Australia becomes the first country to legalise MDMA and magic mushrooms
Ecstasy and magic mushrooms are available in Australia from July onwards, but don’t get too excited, it’s only for prescription holders.
This afternoon it was announced that Australia is the first country to recognise MDMA and magic mushrooms for medicinal purposes. The Therapeutic Drugs Administration stated that there is “sufficient evidence for potential benefits in certain patients”. But, the drugs will be used in a very limited manner and remain otherwise prohibited, so it’s not all fantastic news for Aussie ravers and party-goers.
From July onwards, methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (known as MDMA or ecstasy) and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) will be available on prescription. Psychiatrists will be able to prescribe the former drug for post-traumatic stress disorder and the latter for treatment-resistant depression. The administration said the drugs are “relatively safe” in a medical setting, and helped patients by providing an “altered state of consciousness”.
Ecstasy was in circulation down under in the 80s, predominantly in party and rave scenes, and was subsequently being criminalised in ‘87. The demonisation of these drugs by governments around the world is being revisited, and rightly so, as the steps toward treatment-resistant mental illnesses are now under review. Australia is trialling its drug reform policies by legalising shrooms and ecstasy, and are looking into closely controlled clinical trials to introduce the drug into the medicinal system.
However, there are concerns about the wider implications of legalising treatment, and how the long-term effects are yet to be explored. There is yet to be any published data that signifies issues with long-term use of the drugs, as studies surface across the country to explore the new medicine.
Although there are no approved products containing the substances yet, the administration is working on safe medicines, whilst authorised psychiatrists have access to a now legal supply of medicines containing the drugs.