DEA Approves Trial Use Of Ecstasy in Trauma Cases 

DEA Approves Trial Use Of Ecstasy in Trauma Cases 
Posted by CN Staff on March 02, 2004 at 10:11:14 PT
By Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post 
Capping a 17-year effort by a small but committed group of activists, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has agreed to let a South Carolina physician treat 12 trauma victims with the illegal street drug ecstasy in what will be the first U.S.-approved study of the recreational drug's therapeutic potential. The DEA's move marks a historic turn for a drug that has long been both venerated and vilified.
Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is popular among casual drug users for its reputed capacity to engender feelings of love, trust and compassion. The government classifies it with LSD and heroin as a drug with no known medical use and high potential for abuse. Although the study's approval is by no means a federal endorsement of uncontrolled use, it will give ecstasy's proponents their first legitimate opportunity to prove the drug can offer medical benefits. "MDMA opens the doorway for people to feel deep feelings of love and empathy, which is the core of being human," said Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Sarasota, Fla., the nonprofit research and educational organization funding the trauma study. "We should be looking at that and learning from that." Snipped: Complete Article: Washington Post (DC)Author: Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff WriterPublished: Tuesday, March 2, 2004; Page A02 Copyright: 2004 Washington Post Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Sites:MAPS Agonistes On Ecstasy Is Clouded By Errors Retracted On Ecstasy Study 
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on March 03, 2004 at 22:21:30 PT
Related Article from Wired Magazine
DEA Accedes to Ecstasy Test By Kristen Philipkoski March 02, 2004After a monumental struggle by a small group of advocates who believe Ecstasy, or MDMA, can have beneficial health effects, the Drug Enforcement Agency has finally given the go-ahead to test the drug on patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. If Ecstasy proves to be an effective and safe treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, therapists can sign legal prescriptions for the drug. The DEA gave researchers permission to test the drug on Feb. 24, according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies website, the organization funding the MDMA research. The first phase of the trial will include 12 trauma victims. 
Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist with a private practice in Charleston, South Carolina, had been working with Rick Doblin, the founder and president of MAPS for nearly four years to get the trial approved. In association with MAPS, Doblin has been trying to get MDMA clinical trials approved since even before the drug was oulawed. "It's been 20 years," Doblin said. "We started trying to get research approved by the FDA as soon as the DEA moved to do make it illegal (in 1984)." Ecstasy is known as a party drug, but before MDMA was outlawed in 1985, therapists were already using it to help patients better cope with life's travails. When the DEA named MDMA a schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no known medical use and a high potential for abuse, some therapists continued their work in underground clinics. Therapists as well as casual users have long believed that Ecstasy can help people suffering from post-traumatic stress and other psychological problems because the drug creates feelings of euphoria, warmth and empathy. Most say that combining the drug with therapy is key to helping patients learn to incorporate what they experience on the drug into their everyday lives. "Many clinicians have suspected for a long time, and therapists have a lot of anecdotal information that MDMA has the potential to be very healing for people with a number of disorders including PTSD," said Michael Klein, a psychologist with a private practice in San Francisco. Following some preliminary MAPS-funded trials that showed MDMA would be safe for therapy, the FDA approved the trial in 2001. But several more hurdles remained. An independent review board had to approve the design of the trial, and since Ecstasy is a schedule 1 drug, in the same category as LSD and heroin, the DEA also had to give its stamp of approval. In the new trial, study volunteers will receive two 125 milligram doses of pure 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) synthesized by a chemist at Purdue University. A control group will receive a placebo. Patients will take the medication on two separate occasions spaced three to five weeks apart, combined with talk therapy sessions. Patients will stay overnight at an unidentified clinic when they receive the drug. Mithoefer said he was expecting the DEA's decision any day, because he knew the study fulfilled all of the agency's requirements. "If there's an FDA approved study, the DEA can only deny the license if there's something like a felony, a drug conviction or some reason to think there would be diversion of the MDMA," Mithoefer said. He also has a safe bolted to the floor in his office, as well as an alarm system, to help ensure the drug does not fall into the wrong hands. In September 2002, the MAPS effort hit a speed bump when a longtime opponent of Ecstasy, George Ricaurte, published alarming data, the first to show that MDMA damaged dopamine neurons. But almost exactly a year later, Ricaurte retracted the study because he discovered he had mistakenly used a different drug, methamphetamine, instead of Ecstasy, in the trial. Ricaurte and his wife, Una McCann, have published much of the data used by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to warn people about the dangers of Ecstasy. But even Ricaurte and McCann say if the study is properly designed and controlled, they don't have a problem with it. The key issue, they said, is that the patients know the risks associated with the drug as well as the likelihood that they might benefit from it. "These include (but are not limited to) adverse events related to the acute pharmacological effects of MDMA and the potential for brain serotonin neurotoxicity," Ricaurte said. "If subjects are fully informed of these risks and still chose to participate, and if the protocol has been deemed scientifically and ethically acceptable by the appropriate regulatory bodies, then it should be held to the same standards as other clinical research projects." Rick Doblin, director and founder of MAPS has said he believes Ricaurte's research is politically motivated, and the retraction is evidence that all of his research should be reevaluated. Copyright: 2004 Lycos Inc.,1367,62506,00.html?tw=wn_bizhead_2
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Comment #22 posted by Max Flowers on March 03, 2004 at 11:33:29 PT
MDMA is a miracle drug
There's no other way to put it. The peace and bliss and psychological healing it affords are unmatched. I agree that it's misused when used in a public setting like a rave. Very misused. It's very serious medicine, and should be used with spiritual and/or therapeutic intent with someone you trust implicitly and in a place that is safe and private and comfortable. And it should be used only on occasion, never with any regularity. For a lot of people, once a year (or even less) is plenty and they can integrate the lessons of that yearly session for the rest of the year almost.
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Comment #21 posted by ekim on March 02, 2004 at 19:49:01 PT
what the heck just happen in Hatii
is have just made my mind up that is is very important that Mr Nader keeps running. we must hear all sides. The GOP gives us no choice. They have not put forth one other humane being for leadership. Dick just wont do.It is only the most prudent example of action that a group can do. Plan for the future I for one do not want Mr Edwards to be first john if other john can not make it.E i never knew that Afgan was the home of the brave Indee. Wow that has to be one of the cards in the deck of lies.
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Comment #20 posted by greenmed on March 02, 2004 at 19:24:58 PT
great news
After five years of planning and much regulatory hoop-jumping by Dr. Mithoefer's team, this worthwhile study finally gets off the ground. Check the timeline at is funding the study.)There is mention of Peter Jennings working on a documentary on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy (or would that be psychotherapy-assisted MDMA therapy?) to be aired soon.
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Comment #19 posted by Dankhank on March 02, 2004 at 18:47:47 PT
Kick or not ...
apols. not required Kap ...It's possible that X works for adults as Ritalin is supposed to work on kids.I know what we did, and I don't expect everyone to have the same response, I believe there is a Mind-element to the "body and mind high" we'd get.Yea, lots of slow languorous touching going wherever ...I too, prefer Cannabis in all it's wondrous forms ...But I'm up for 'bout anything on Friday night ...  :-)
Hemp N Stuff
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Comment #18 posted by kaptinemo on March 02, 2004 at 18:16:55 PT:
I wouldn't want any Afghani hash now
They mix it with opium, nowadays...and not out of tradition, but simple economics, to get you hooked.Welcome to the joys of globalism...
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Comment #17 posted by E_Johnson on March 02, 2004 at 16:44:28 PT
Not for me thanks
Pot does what I need it to. I'm in my comfort zone.But I did have the chance to do some really good LSD in my youth and that was enlightening. I was just old enough to catch the end of that era. The black Afghani hash/ good LSD era that was oh so brief.Yet so incredible...It feels almost like remembering Russia before the Revolution. 
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Comment #16 posted by billos on March 02, 2004 at 14:29:30 PT:
in my belief was used by psychotherapists to raise mood levels. When the drug got out in the street and people used it to get "high" with, the feds banned it. Because, oh God, it is an abomination to get high.
The U.S. troops are undoubtly being used for Bush and his daddy's wishes. I say hey, you guys got the bombs and guns, get the hell out of Baghdad, form a giant circle, shoot any officer that rebels and tell that sorry ass leader of yours that you ain't moving 'till they get you home. I never thought I would see these events. Now bush wants to virtually cut social security benefits. It IS time for a revolution.
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Comment #15 posted by Nuevo Mexican on March 02, 2004 at 14:14:33 PT
My experience is much the same Kap!
Thanks for your well-expressed thoughts and experiences regarding Ecstasy. The ultimate catalyst for self-healing, the only real form of healing there is. 
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Comment #14 posted by kaptinemo on March 02, 2004 at 13:55:26 PT:
Unrelated...but I KNEW this would happen!
I got this one from a link at DrugWarRant, which came from LastOneSpeaks: LOS's blog:
*Well here's an infuriating example of the hypocrisy of the Bush administration and the war on some drugs. It seems 21 soldiers in Iowa, who served our country in Iraq, will be dishonorably discharged when they return home after their tour of duty for failing a drug test before they were shipped out.These National Guardsmen were not discharged or put through rehab at the time of the drug tests. Guard officials say that's because deployment schedules didn't allow for it. So in other words, the military was in such a hurry to get their warm bodies over to Iraq, they didn't have time to punish them before they left; but now these men, after risking their lives for Bush's imperialist agenda, will lose all their benefits by being dishonorably discharged months after the fact. Zero tolerance apparently only kicks in, if you actually survive your tour of duty. One wonders what would have happened if they were killed in action. Would their families have been denied survivor benefits under the same criteria? This is so patently cruel and unfair it leaves me speechless.*If anyone doubts the insanity of the Busch regime, this is perfect proof these clowns have the bolts too loose in the brainpan. These guys faced death every day, and now, they'll be pitched out like trash.I have NEVER favored a domestic military coup under ANY circumstances, but, by God, if this goes on, I wouldn't be surprised to see one. My former comrades-in-arms know they've been used foully in these illegal wars for questionable goals, and only respect for the Constitution and love of the Republic we all swore to defend with our life's blood has kept these Imperialist (nee NeoCon) idiots from swinging from lamp-posts."How long, Oh Lord?" 
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Comment #13 posted by kaptinemo on March 02, 2004 at 13:17:47 PT:
Sorry, Dank, there's NO kick to it at all
It's the most paradoxical substance that I have ever had. It's supposed to be a stimulant - and I am extraordinarily sensitive to stimulants, and don't drink *anything* with caffeine by choice - but this literally makes you want to lay down, with a case of mild fatigue. And this is a form of *meth*, remember that. You should be wired,'re just...*tired*.As to sex? Most "X" users will tell you that *might* come afterwards. LONG afterwards. After you've recuperated from the 'low' that often happens after use. "X" drains you physically; 'pillow pounding' isn't likely.Your first impulse is just to open up and talk. Really talk. It's been described as the gateway to the heart, and I've never found that description to be incorrect. If your relationship is on the rocks for lack of communicating or miscommunicating, this levels the field and gently removes many blocks that have grown up like walls. But have a care; when I say you open up, I say you lack *all* the usual reservations that govern communication normally. You become emotionally vulnerable as well as open. I've said things and admitted feelings to dear friends that I would never have said without it due to the norms of social strictures; thank God they were mature and professional enough to respect that place of vulnerability.It is a powerful means of self-exploration that helps you past the kinds of barriers you erect in your own mind and heart. That's why I keep re-iterating that this isn't a 'club drug' to be casually swallowed like some damn' soft drink. And a good deal more circumspection ought to be used as to *who* you indulge with.As someone for whom the term 'PTSD' was not a concept but a teeth grinding, nightmare producing reality, it was a Godsend. It deserves a chance as a tool for healing. If it could help the likes of ex-grunt me, then it certainly could help others. And ought to be allowed to.
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Comment #12 posted by Dankhank on March 02, 2004 at 12:50:13 PT:
X ...........
In the early 70's in GA we came upon some stuff called MDA. Similar to MDMA, in action. Good rep for "touchy-feely" activities. Lotta of hugging, rubbing and whatever else seemed crazed dancing, I bet the MDMA has a better speed kick, although literature suggest dangers are similar.Try this for some only mildly confusing stuff was being used in clinical psychotherapy before the street got it, chickensh+t medical folks ducked again instead of fighting The NEW madness.
Hemp N Suff
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Comment #11 posted by BigDawg on March 02, 2004 at 12:46:21 PT
Ima old fart myself
but was fortunate enough to try "X" before the designer drug laws were passed.I must say that of all the chemical compounds available, it has recieved the most BS from the powers that be. I'm willing to bet that they find it is useful in therapy. And as mentioned... it has its negatives... but nothing that can't be avoided without information and responsibility.Dehydration would be a problem if one took a few caffiene tablets and then danced all nite without liquid refreshment. 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 02, 2004 at 12:23:28 PT
I don't like alcohol and I never could get past what an oyster looks like to consider eating it. I'm just a simple kind of person particularly with what I can consume.
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on March 02, 2004 at 12:15:12 PT:
Xerox that Ewww! from FoM
(I refuse to say 'ditto', lest any one mistake me for a follower of Limbaugh.)Ugh. Racing engine fuel (I once modified cars to run on 160 proof ethanol) and shelled marine slime are not my cup of tea. (Shudders)To each their own, but I'll pass...
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on March 02, 2004 at 12:10:22 PT:
MMDA and LSD Belong Together...
not in schedule one, but as agents of psychotherapeutic effectiveness. To say that either one "has no known medical use" is to ignore many years of clinical use and to treat the human body as if it has no head. Medical Freedom Amendment for 2004.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 02, 2004 at 12:02:54 PT
Vodka and Oysters
Oh EJ yuk! LOL!
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Comment #6 posted by E_Johnson on March 02, 2004 at 11:54:32 PT
There was an old fart rave in Pasadena
The Art Alliance had a rave benefit for their art programs, of course a high ticket price meant it was attended mainly by rich people, meaning mainly older people.They had some rave DJ spinning electronic Marley and drumming and stuff, and they served vodka martinis and raw oysters everywhere.No drugs that I could see or smell. Well, maybe vodka martinis and raw oysters are the over 50 version of Ecstasy, I don't know.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 02, 2004 at 11:44:04 PT
Drugs and Lack of Experience
I really am not up on drugs. The only drugs that were around when I was in my time of youthful indiscretions was Cannabis, LSD and Meth and one time Mushrooms. The big drug back then that people seemed to like were Qualudes. I never even had a Lude as they were called. My Mom's doctor way back in the 70s got caught pressing out his own Ludes in the basement of his medical practice. My next door neighbor was a nurse and we would go over to her house and she would open up a draw and give us all the amphetamines we wanted. It wasn't an issue back then. We all just loved her! LOL!
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Comment #4 posted by E_Johnson on March 02, 2004 at 11:34:18 PT
PTSD takes terrible toll on law enforcement
A lot of police have PTSD. I am so surprised that they haven't latched onto any awareness of how marijuana could help them, and continue to fight a drug war that only increases their exposure to traaumatizing incidents.In LA recently an officer answered a domestic violence 911 call and got shot to death. His colleagues are all probably suffering from trauma right now.I'm sure there are lots of retired DEA agents suffering chronic PTSD. Some horrible things have happened to them in this drug war they supported and fought willingly.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on March 02, 2004 at 11:32:38 PT:
I've never been to one myself, FoM
As much as I enjoy electronica, being a 'chrome-domed' old fart, I'd be as out of place as a yeshiva student at a Fundie tent revival. This is something for the kids, and more power to them, as I've never heard of fistfights breaking out at one; on the contrary. Someday, maybe, but right now...just too much to do.` 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 02, 2004 at 11:15:46 PT
I have never had any Ecstasy. I wish I knew more about it but I'm a we bit to old to go to a Rave! LOL!
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on March 02, 2004 at 11:12:15 PT:
About freakin' TIME that this happened!I've written here many times before that having had the experience of MDMA augmented therapy, I can offer my (admittedly subjective) approval of it's efficacy. I still hold that it is most decidely NOT a 'club drug', and that anyone using it for that purpose without proper precautions is playing with fire. The dehydration danger is REAL, friends, not propaganda. Use your head. Read about it, learn the warning signs, and *heed* them. But to deny people the use of this substance in the face of crippling psychological traumas is mental cruelty in and of itself. This is something a great many veterans coming back from our (Constitutionally illegal!) wars will desperately need.
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