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Australian politician wants Ecstasy to be used treat trauma victims, but some skeptical

by Gopalan on  June 23, 2008 at 5:26 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Australian politician wants Ecstasy to be used treat trauma victims, but some skeptical
Australian Democrats MP Sandra Kanck is suggesting use of ecstasy drug on war veterans, but some are skeptical of the idea.

She said ecstasy's key ingredient, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), could be used to alleviate post-traumatic stress disorders.
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"This is not a new idea," Kanck said while addressing the South Australian parliament's upper house a few days ago. "It is being trialled in the United States and Israel for war veterans and in Spain for rape victims." 

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"It's not a frivolous idea.

"Veterans, like other Australians, are already being prescribed powerful drugs like highly addictive morphine for pain relief and benzodiazepines for post-traumatic stress disorder. Both are potentially addictive and dangerous drugs.

"Most drugs can be dangerous but if they are used in a controlled way they can be medically beneficial."

The South Australian Veterans' Affairs Minister Michael Atkinson immediately retorted, saying the Government would "not be supporting Sandra Kanck's latest rave" and "Vietnam Veterans are not laboratory mice for a left-wing social experiment."

But Kanck too reacted equally strongly, saying if Atkinson "really cared about veterans," he would look into any proposal that might help them and their families.

"He is either too superstitious to consider the science and the evidence or he is playing cynical politics," she said.

"'Veterans, like other Australians, are already being prescribed powerful drugs like highly addictive morphine for pain relief and benzodiazepines for post traumatic stress disorder. Both are potentially addictive and dangerous drugs."

But Returned Services League's national president Bill Crews said he was reluctant to support the call to investigate using the drug on war veterans.

"When you are talking about ingredients of illegal drugs in the process of mental health treatment, you are starting to raise quite some issues. Even if it was proven to be beneficial in some areas, how do you actually control it?" he wanted to know.

"We would not agree with a proposal until such time as it was thoroughly investigated scientifically and the specialists in this field, particularly psychiatrists, were confident that there was a case,"  he said.

In 2006 too, Ms Kanck drew flak for telling parliament there was no evidence to suggest MDMA was dangerous.

She also said if she had a choice between attending a rave party or a hotel bar, she would "go to the rave party every time".

She also advocated giving MDMA to traumatised victims of the 2005 Eyre Peninsula bushfires, which killed nine people.

Kanck, a member of SA's Legislative Council since 1993, said those comments were taken out of context and she had been talking of therapeutic use of MDMA, not the use of backyard-manufactured ecstasy.

Source: Medindia
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