Australia Legalization of MDMA
and Psilocybin Therapy
On February 3, 2023, in a surprising announcement, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia announced it would permit the use of MDMA to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Psilocybin for treatment resistant depression, as of July 1 2023. Both drugs will be reclassified on Australia’s Poison Standards from Schedule 9 (prohibited substances) to Schedule 8, permitting their use as controlled drugs for therapeutic applications.
Australia becomes the first country to recognise psychedelics as medicines, and to allow for psychedelic-assisted therapy versus adult use like in Oregon and Colorado. Prescribing will be limited to psychiatrists, given their specialised qualifications and expertise to diagnose and treat patients with serious mental health conditions as per the TGA, Psychiatrists will also first need to be approved by the TGA’s authorised prescriber scheme. The TGA acknowledges there were few other options for patients with specific treatment-resistant mental illnesses.
Australia Psychedelics Accessibility Constraints and Scalability
There are less than 3700 psychiatrists in Australia and most are at capacity with appointment wait times as long as 6-12 months. This can pose a huge delay in access to treatment for those who need it. It’s critical that those who are interested in providing psychedelic-assisted therapy begin their training now to close that gap for their clients.
Psychiatrists interested in psychedelic-assisted therapy will first need to be approved by the TGA’s authorised prescriber scheme, and must demonstrate their training, robust patient selection and evidence-based treatment protocols, as well as patient monitoring. They must also satisfy governance and reporting criteria.
Psychiatrists will need to work efficiently with trained physicians, therapists and facilitators in supporting roles in order for psychedelic-assisted therapy to be accessible for those who can benefit from it. Involving more healthcare professionals into the care team for psychedelic-assisted therapy would allow psychiatrists to focus on psychiatric assessment and prescribing for more patients. More healthcare professional participation to provide support services means better accessibility for Australians in need of these treatments. Australia has a huge opportunity ahead to lead the psychedelic renaissance on the world stage.
Psychedelic Education and Training is Crucial
For psychiatrists, education and training in psychedelics is crucial for client success and is required by the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia. Psychiatrists will also want to make sure the healthcare professionals in supporting roles to carry out psychedelic-assisted therapy as prescribed by them, are well trained and qualified for the tasks of psychedelics administration and therapy.
Even in Oregon and Colorado, where psychedelic assisted therapy is not considered a required part of the use of psychedelics for adults, regulators built in 12-18 months to draft rules and regulations, and to allow time for training of psychedelic facilitators prior to legalization. The TGA announcement provides just 5 months for psychiatrists to prepare, be approved by the TGA and for physicians and therapists to be trained in supporting roles.
Helping Australia launch psychedelic-assisted therapy initiatives
ATMA supports the psychedelic therapy industry by providing education, training, clinical trials, and business support services for the largest community of psychedelic practitioners around the world. Our programs and platform will prepare practitioners in all categories for their role to play in the psychedelic therapy field in Australia.
ATMA is the only psychedelic therapy training program with real life protocol experiences of conducting legal psilocybin assisted therapy. Over the last two years, ATMA has been working to provide psychedelic-assisted therapy to many palliative care patients.
The two core training programs for prescribers and therapy providers focus on competencies for MDMA-assisted therapy as well as psilocybin-assisted therapy.
ATMA is making psychedelic therapy training available to psychiatrists and healthcare professionals with these offerings:
Introduction to Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy
For any and all healthcare providers to gain a basic understanding of psychedelic therapy and to better answer clients/patients who will be asking about psychedelics while waiting for a psychiatrist.
Advanced Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Training
For therapy providers who wish to play a supporting role to their psychiatrist counterparts with preparatory, drug administration and integrative psychotherapy, so as to free-up psychiatrists to do more of the work of psychiatric assessment and prescribing.
Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Training for Physicians & Prescribers
To say only a minority number of psychiatrists and physicians understand psychedelic assisted therapy would be an understatement. This poses a challenge as psychiatrists and physicians are the front line who will be asked to screen and refer patients for psychedelic-assisted therapy. This course available to psychiatrists and physicians, is CPD credits illegible, and responds specifically to their unique role in the psychedelic therapy care team.
Have questions or want to learn more about psychedelic assisted therapy in Australia?
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