The FDA says that the “Breakthrough Therapy” designation expedites the development of drugs intended to treat a serious condition where preliminary clinical evidence indicates the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapies. The agency behind this effort to promote MDMA is called the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (www.maps.org), which was founded in 1986 by Rick Doblin specifically to promote marijuana and psychedelics as “medicines,” after his experiments using psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences.
The randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 3 clinical trials are intended to assess the efficacy and safety of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in a group of 200 to 300 participants diagnosed with PTSD aged 18+ at sites in the U.S., Canada, and Israel, pending the raising of $25 Million in private funds to pay for the trials.
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, generic midomafetamine), a synthetic drug which is the primary ingredient in Ecstasy, is emotionally damaging and users often suffer depression, confusion, severe anxiety, paranoia, psychotic behavior and other psychological problems. It is chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline, and 92% of those who begin using Ecstasy later turn to other drugs including marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine and heroin.
Once MDMA gets into the bloodstream, it prompts a massive release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The collective efforts of all three neurotransmitters make the user feel euphoric. MDMA also damages brain serotonin neurons. High doses of MDMA can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a spike in body temperature that can occasionally result in liver, kidney, or heart failure or even death.
One has to continually increase the amount of the drug one takes in order to feel the same effects; some people report signs of addiction, including the following withdrawal symptoms: fatigue, loss of appetite, depression, and trouble concentrating. MDMA was first synthesized by a German company (Merck) in 1912 and has been available as a street drug since the 1980s. MDMA was first used in the 1970s as an unapproved aid in psychotherapy. In 1985, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration labeled MDMA as an illegal drug with no recognized medicinal use. In 2016, the White House found more than 22,000 people were hospitalized due to symptoms related to MDMA in 2011.
To put overall MDMA use in perspective, in 2010 the illicit drug category with the largest number of current users among persons aged 12 or older was marijuana use (2.4 million), followed by abuse of pain relievers (2 million), tranquilizers (1.2 million), Ecstasy (0.9 million), inhalants (0.8 million), and cocaine and stimulants (0.6 million each).
Not to bandy words, the psychiatric movement to promote MDMA as a treatment for anything, let alone for the fraudulent diagnosis of PTSD, is outright unethical and abusive, and can only be motivated by a perverse desire to harm in the name of help and profit.
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