Prescription Ecstasy for PTSD Draws Skeptics

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DALLAS — (CBS) Phase III clinical trials will soon be underway to turn ecstasy into a prescription drug used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

But the move toward a new PTSD pill leaves those who use alternative treatment methods skeptical.

For example, Director of Clinical and Veteran Services at Equest, Jeff Hensley, uses the calm of the Great Trinity Forest and the soothing presence of horses to help veterans heal those ragged emotional wounds.

Hensley explains, “There may be all kinds of chaos going on in the rest of their lives. Once they get out here, it carves out a safe place…”

Hensley, who is also a veteran, supports research into new treatments for PTSD.  But news that researchers could soon turn an illegal party drug into a potential treatment has him troubled.

“There is a place, a role for medication. It’s an important management tool in a lot of cases. But when it gets to be a substitute for dealing with the long-term issues that come up with PTSD, I think you’re just asking for trouble.”

Over the years, researchers have explored a number of treatments for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress Including research in north Texas using magnets. But, those close to the ecstasy option are urging caution, citing high instances of substance abuse in military veterans already.

“If it’s controlled – if we know what we’re dealing with  – and this is a potential effective treatment option, then I would be in favor of it. I  just think that we need to treat very, very carefully when going down this path,” adds Hensley.

The FDA has declined to comment citing regulations that prohibit the agency from disclosing information about drugs that are being developed. 

But a Phase III clinical trial means that a drug is close to approval.

(Robbie Owens, CBS)

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