U.S. Soldiers Will Get Ecstasy For Combat Stress

The FDA has given the green light for soldiers suffering combat stress after serving in Iraq and Afganistan to receive Ecstasy. [link via Majikthise and Daou Report.]

Scientists behind the trial in South Carolina think the feelings of emotional closeness reported by those taking the drug could help the soldiers talk about their experiences to therapists. Several victims of rape and sexual abuse with post-traumatic stress disorder, for whom existing treatments are ineffective, have been given MDMA since the research began last year.

Michael Mithoefer, the psychiatrist leading the trial, said: "It's looking very promising. It's too early to draw any conclusions but in these treatment-resistant people so far the results are encouraging. "People are able to connect more deeply on an emotional level with the fact they are safe now."

We written before about the possible beneficial effects of ecstasy for dying cancer patients, those suffering from PTSD. And on the retraction of a study's claim that one night's use of ecstasy could cause permanent damage. (the animals in the study had been given a different drug.) That false claim is relevant because it was relied on by proponents, including Joe Biden, of the ill-advised Rave Act.

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    Re: U.S. Soldiers Will Get Ecstasy For Combat Str (none / 0) (#1)
    by marty on Sat Feb 19, 2005 at 12:25:37 PM EST
    Medical POT though, death penalty. I wonder which is worse for your brain?

    Step in the right direction though. After all, has it been proven that hallucinogens are not effective? Just because some of us think that drug use is immoral, bad, outlawed etc, where are the studies that show is is ineffective. I think the argument against drugs are much stronger if you can argue they are wrong, illegal, immoral, and have no therapeutic value than if you just argue they are wrong and immoral.

    As A vet I know the VA Is insane. the guys are nothing but Livestock for the bush family to test, must be some money in it some place for some boys in the drug business. you got to ask how many will be test animals for our freedom loving government?

    Re: U.S. Soldiers Will Get Ecstasy For Combat Str (none / 0) (#4)
    by DonS on Sat Feb 19, 2005 at 02:32:00 PM EST
    Its truly amazing what the moralistic Bushies can think up when it comes to saving a dime on veterans. You do it on the street back in the good ol USA and your in the slammer. Back in the 60's LSD was being tested under controlled conditions for teatment of alcoholism until it got on the street and the govt decided it was too much fun. Troll disclaimer: I'm not advocating for unregulated LSD. As a drug counselor I've seen too many bad trips.

    I'm not a chemist either, but MMDA is, AFAIK, an amphetamine derivative. Since soldiers are ordered to take 'Go Pills' already, accounting for some level of their trauma, this seems like insult added to injury. How exactly are the returning soldiers 'safe now,' which is what they are supposed to get from MMDA? They aren't safe; they are screwed up but good, and the unscrewing isn't going to come from two weeks of quick cure. But I'm sure it makes the VA real happy to have another cure in a pill to replace all those decades of talk therapy with other vets, which inevitably includes a LOT of expression of anger at the chain of command that scr*wed them to the wall in the first place. MMDA is not going to cure guilt, horror, severe shock, and being made Guinea pigs for untested Rx drugs.

    Re: U.S. Soldiers Will Get Ecstasy For Combat Str (none / 0) (#6)
    by Al on Sat Feb 19, 2005 at 06:27:48 PM EST
    The cure for combat stress is not to send people into combat all the time, specially if your country hasn't been attacked by your chosen enemy.

    Re: U.S. Soldiers Will Get Ecstasy For Combat Str (none / 0) (#7)
    by glanton on Sat Feb 19, 2005 at 08:08:59 PM EST
    I wonder if they've considered giving ecstasy to POW's they're grilling for information, given the drug's propensity for opening people up for conversation. Might be more effective than putting a light bulb up someone's butt anyway (as the rumors have it). Not to mention less depraved. Not necessarily an endorsement here. Just a thought.

    If you have to 'wonder' about that, glanton, then you are grossly under-informed. The CIA has tested LSD and every other mind control drug on soldiers and civilians since the early 1960s, including without their foreknowledge, and including on a mass scale with civilians. Drugging people who have no intel has the same effect as torturing them. They scream and moan, and then some soldiers can go out and die (along with mountains of civilians) running down the fake leads in the middle of the night. Bush himself is the amoral result of uncontrolled cocaine experimentation. Between him and Rush Limbaugh, enough drugs to open a drug store. But, IOKIYAR.

    Paul is so right, and on the money. here in good old never-never land we don't like to talk about our non government and the mass murder of people here, after all we are the good guys right? by the way if i keep talking like this, homeland may come and see me, freedom, freedom, for who? and for how many?

    As a psychiatrist, we know of evidence of permanent effects on Seratonin neurons based on PET scan data. Briefly, Ecstasy blocks uptake of radioactive tryptophan acutely. More importantly, folks that have used the drug frequently show the same absence of uptake after months of abstinence! Seratonin is a neurotransmitter in a tiny (less than 0.1%) but important population of brain neurons. They are emotional modlators or regulators. In my past role in addiction medicine, many Ecstasy users suffer from labile mood or depression which does not respond to SSRI meds. This is expected if in fact Ecstasy permanently debilitates the Seratonergic neurons. My information may be dated or incorrect. It was CME led by a neuropsychiatrist from Case Western Reserve in Ohio. The focus of the presentation was about depression and he presented the PET scan data as an aside. If anyone knows more about this, I wish to stand corrected.

    Re: U.S. Soldiers Will Get Ecstasy For Combat Str (none / 0) (#11)
    by scarshapedstar on Sun Feb 20, 2005 at 10:19:49 PM EST
    I'm not sure about this one. As much as I encourage drug use, ecstasy doesn't necessarily make you happy - it's possible to have quite a bad roll (boy, do I ever sound like one of those damn kids.) Furthermore, x burnout really isn't going to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Re: U.S. Soldiers Will Get Ecstasy For Combat Str (none / 0) (#12)
    by scarshapedstar on Sun Feb 20, 2005 at 10:21:53 PM EST
    Well, to clarify, I know they aren't expecting to just drug up the soldiers until they're happy. But talking about traumatic experiences on ecstasy... I'm no psychiatrist, but I'm not so sure it would help.