Psychedelics – Future medications?

Comment: In the past few years there has been renewed interest and research in the role that psychedelics may have in the treatment of a number of mental health conditions. This article from Scientific American looks at the future role of psychedelics as a treatment for depression. For those interested in this topic there are many resources at Mind Medicine Australia A link is at the end of this post.

Remember: Please do not experiment with your own mental health by using psychedelics – if you have mental health concerns consult a doctor or psychologist.

…Chemicals such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) are more accurately called “serotonergic psychedelics” among the neuroscience community. Outside of this group however, many people don’t think of these compounds as antidepressants to be distributed by white-coat-wearing psychiatrists. Instead, they imagine whimsical blotter papers passed around by washed-up hippies at Grateful Dead concerts.

And yet, researchers in the U.K. have already been given the green light to begin clinical trials for using DMT for treating depression

To a neuroscientist whose focus is the striatum, a brain area involved in complex conditions ranging from depression to addiction, it’s evident that these drugs have tremendous promise for a safe, happier future.

Many states are looking to reevaluate the legal status of psychedelics. This is a start at improving the public perception of psychedelic use, which can ultimately encourage more to seek psychedelic therapy in psychiatric practice…

Click here : Original Article at Scientific American 

Mind Medicine Australia

Drug Use and Covid-19

Comment: The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) has released a summary report of a study – Australians’ Drug Use: Adapting to Panademic Threats (ADAPT) study. This study examines the experience of Australians who use illicit drugs. The reference to Wave 1 and 2 reflect two different time periods the survey was conducted.

The ADAPT cohort who completed the Wave 2 survey comprised mostly young, well-educated capital city dwellers. Being a convenience sample, findings from the ADAPT study cannot be considered representative of all people that use drugs.
• Cannabis continued to be the substance with the greatest proportion reporting increased use relative to before COVID-19 restrictions, although the percentage declined relative to Wave 1 (56% reporting increased use at Wave 1 versus 44% at Wave 2).
• MDMA, cocaine and ketamine continued to be the substances with the greatest proportion reporting decreased use (47%, 42%, and 40%, respectively) relative to before COVID-19 restrictions, consistent with Wave 1 (49%, 39%, 32%, respectively).
• However, there was considerable diversity in changes in consumption across individuals and drug types, highlighting the heterogeneity of experiences among people who use drugs.
• Perceived availability was reported as easy/very easy for most drugs, however there was an increase in the perception of methamphetamine being ‘very difficult’ to obtain at Wave 2.
• The percentage of participants reporting that they had drugs delivered to them in the past month declined in Wave 2. There was a small increase in the percentage reporting not obtaining illicit drugs in the past month.
• Experience of drug-related harms remained relatively consistent between Waves 1 and 2.
• More than half of participants reported poorer mental health in the past four weeks relative to before March 2020, consistent with Wave 1. The percentage of the sample reporting accessing mental health treatment increased from 39% at Wave 1 to 47% at Wave 2.

October 2020 report available here

Families of those who have lost control of drug usage

Comment: I found this The Guardian article that focuses on families of those who have lost control of drug usage (they use the term addictions). If you are in Australia and concerned about the drug use of people you care about, the best resource I can refer you to is the Family Drug Support (FDS) that have a 24 hour helpline and many different forms of support for yourself.

The secret support group: ‘Families are too ashamed to speak up about addiction’

A recent Carers NSW initiative is attempting to reach out to families of addicts through the “Hidden Carers Project”, but few have been brave enough to out themselves. We may titter when a colleague turns up on a Monday morning with a killer hangover but just try mentioning your partner or sibling drying out from alcohol or methamphetamine and the tea room will empty instantaneously...

Click here for The Guardian article

Click here for the Family Drug Support