Simulated NightclubsRemember when American soldiers given amphetamine "GO pills" accidentally dropped a laser-guided bomb on Canadian and British soldiers during the invasion of Afghanistan? Now American soldiers traumatised by their war experiences are being asked to volunteer for simulated nightclubs, where they will take ecstasy. The ecstasy is meant to help them make an emotional connection with their therapist and thus free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares. After years of being highly illegal, trials of ecstasy started quietly last year on victims of sexual abuse with post-traumatic stress disorder, in preparation for the trial this year with soldiers. Researchers are hoping that the MDMA in ecstasy can help traumatised people speak about their experiences without triggering anxiety attacks. The ecstasy therapy lasts around eight hours while music is played to the patient. They may be given a hundred and twenty-five milligrams of ecstasy, or they may be swallowing a placebo, they don't know. Kind of like the way its taken in a nightclub. With MDMA back in the fold as an acceptable therapeutic drug, researchers are now looking at the psilocybin in magic mushrooms to see if they can successfully treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. No word yet on how the US military plan to make use of the research.
February 28, 2005