The EU would have nothing to do with psychedelics.
But that all changed last Tuesday when they entered the European Parliament.
Under the lead of PAREA, several luminaries of the field discussed psychedelic-assisted therapies (PAT) openly. The EU members received the presentations surprisingly well.
Why were they there anyway?
More than 100 million people in the EU have mental health conditions. No paradigm-shifting treatments have come out over the last several decades. That is, until the promising results of PAT.
With the FDA approval of MDMA for PTSD imminent (2024/25), the EU needs to start thinking about how the union on this side of the pond could implement PAT.
In the US, regulators are launching an inter-agency Federal task force. The meeting served as a call to action to start a similar initiative in the EU.
What does PAREA propose?
Build infrastructure. PAT is an entirely new type of therapy (drug + therapy combination) with no real parallels. The ‘normal’ healthcare structures will not accommodate it as easy as adding another pill to the arsenal.
PAREA proposes the EU considers the following:
- good standards of practice
- training of specialised therapists
- credentialing and licencing
- safe and ethical use monitoring
- evidence-based protocols to support challenging experiences
- engagement of communities & peer support networks
- developing ethical guidelines and data standards
My take on the proposal
Yes, we should do all of the above.
And, we should spend a lot of energy on finding out for whom PAT works best. Yes, 100 million people are suffering in the EU, but PAT won’t help them all.
The data shows that PAT can help people overcome PTSD, but long-term data for any other indication is missing (or very sparse). How much care do we need after the psychedelic session? For who will this be cost-effective?
In scaling up the infrastructure, we shouldn’t forget to stay constructively self-reflective, a skill that psychedelics help hone.
PAREA Event in the European Parliament Meeting Notes
I’ve transcribed and edited the transcription of this meeting.