G’day, ya lovely shark biscuits!
Breaking psychedelic news! The Australian government are to fund clinical trials using magic mushrooms, truffles, ecstasy and other trippy substances to treat serious mental health issues. Will ‘Straya ride the wave to the forefront of psychedelic progress?
Read on to find out!
Looking Into Psychedelic Avenues
In an interview with Ben Fordham, David Coleman, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, shed some light on their plans:
“What we’re saying here is, we’re gonna put some money towards trials… Testing how these drugs work in a clinical setting. But any approval of the drugs is subject to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)… We’re saying, let’s investigate this area because it does show some promise.”
The budget? 15 million Australian dollars, which comes from grants by the Medical Research Future Fund for innovative therapies. Bonzer!
“We’ve got about 4 million Australians with a mental illness. And many of those people are on antidepressants and other forms of medication. Sometimes those treatments work; but sometimes they don’t. It’s incumbent on us to look into all avenues.
“Mental illness is a massive issue in the community… We’ll see how those trials go. If the TGA ultimately decides that these drugs should be made available through doctors, then it’s a matter for them.
“But for now, we’re gonna run some trials and do some investigations.”
A National Crisis
“The truth is, historically, the mental health system hasn’t been run as well as it could’ve been, or should’ve been. There’s a lot of work to do.”
Mr. Coleman is right. As a response, the National Cabinet will come to an agreement by November 2021. Most especially on mental health and suicide prevention — now a pressing concern in Australia.
For the next 3 years or so — until 2022, basically — Australians can expect a surge in major psychedelic research. Magic mushrooms, truffles, ecstasy? You name it. The Australian govt says they’ll speed up the process. Mental health problems have turned into a national crisis, affecting millions of Australians. So you can see why they are willing to try methods that might once have been disregarded. Namely, shrooms.
Leave No Stone Unturned
For example, more than 14% of adults each year struggle with anxiety. A staggering 12% of Australians have PTSD. There’s a bushfire of other problems to deal with — such as addiction, depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders.
Mr. Coleman wants to leave no stone unturned:
“The prevalence and impact of mental illness is devastating for individuals, families, and communities.
“This bold initiative is about ensuring that we explore every avenue of potential treatment for Australians diagnosed with a mental illness.”
Boost Local Research
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said that earlier studies in Australia and in the United States were strong, but not enough. To him, more research has to be done before psychedelic meds can be given widely:
“It is vital that we continue to support the search for new and better treatments for mental illness.
“This grant opportunity will boost local research into potentially life-saving therapies… and offers hope to all those suffering from mental illness, including our veterans and emergency service personnel dealing with the devastating effects of PTSD.”
A Crucial Delay…
In the U.S., a lot of psychedelic drugs have been given “breakthrough therapy” status by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Allowing scientists to test psychedelics, including magic mushrooms and truffles, as potential treatment for mental health issues — such as PTSD, anxiety, and major depression.
Sadly, Australian leaders are not quite as ready to ride the wave. Just last month, the Therapeutic Goods Association decided *not* to declassify psilocybin — the trippy compound in magic mushrooms — for mental health professionals. At least not for the time being:
“It will take years to develop a curriculum and accredited training process for psychiatrists.
“To protect public health and prevent misuse, psilocybin should not be down-scheduled until all necessary safeguards have been established and implemented.”
…And a Price to Pay
Other groups had shared the same fears as TGA, such as the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. They say they need to make sure psilocybin is 100% safe and effective — especially as a medicine. Hence the delay for the rescheduling of psilocybin. (We’re sure it’ll come out on top though of course!)
But as the pandemic rages on, Australia’s mental health crisis gets even worse. This is what advocates such as Mind Medicine Australia have to say on the state’s refusal to give access to psilocybin, even as suicide rates go up:
“We have applied for the rescheduling of psilocybin and MDMA to Schedule 8 (Controlled Medicines) to make medical access around Australia easier.
“However, some barriers remain at the State level around Australia because of a legislative failure to distinguish between the recreational and medical use of these substances.”
Shrooms In The Outback
Major evidence in the U.S. have shown that psychedelics — such as magic mushrooms and truffles — when combined with therapy, can effectively treat a host of mental health issues, such as depression, PTSD, and end-of-life anxiety. So how do you convince Australia’s tough medical experts? By testing breakthrough therapies with them, right here in the Outback!
Sure, there are protests from a few critics. But if you ask us, mate, Australia is more than ready to usher in a new Age of Psychedelics. The fact that the Morrison government is spending $15 million Australian dollars (!!) for these clinical trials is a sure sign of that. Crikey, they must’ve said. If traditional antidepressants just aren’t the ticket, then is it time for psilocybin to shine?