By Brad Dunn —
Officials have urged the Biden administration to prepare for the likelihood that the FDA will approve MDMA and psilocybin for breakthrough therapies within the next two years.
In correspondence made public between the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services and Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), the administration indicated it is “exploring the prospect of establishing a federal task force to monitor” the emergence of psychedelic medicines, specifically MDMA for treating PTSD and psilocybin for treating depression.
“Too many Americans are suffering from mental health and substance use issues, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that we must explore the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapies to address this crisis,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, in the May 13 letter, which was first reported by the Intercept.
Delphin-Rittmon was responding to Rep. Dean’s proposal to create an interagency task force that would address the “complex issues associated with the anticipated approval by the [FDA] of [MDMA] for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and psilocybin for the treatment of depression within approximately 24 months.”
The correspondence, which marks the first indication that Washington is anticipating the approval of psychedelic drugs after they were banned a half-century ago, drew immediate support from researchers.
“We applaud the Biden Administration for taking psychedelic-assisted therapies, and their potential to treat life-threatening mental health conditions, seriously,” said Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). “A Federal Task Force on psychedelic-assisted therapies should take a multidisciplinary approach to ensuring that red tape, administrative delays, or insurance coverage questions don’t leave Americans suffering as they seek to access approved treatments.”