Pubdate: Wed, 27 Apr 2016
Source: Vancouver 24hours (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Vancouver 24 hrs.
Author: Eric MacKenzie
Page: 3


Researcher believes clinical trials of psychedelic drugs would show
even greater impact

People with a history of psychedelic drug use are less likely to
commit acts of domestic violence, according to a new study co-authored
by a University of B.C. researcher.

Zach Walsh, co-director of UBC Okanagan's Centre for the Advancement
of Psychological Science and Law, found that male inmates in an
Illinois county jail who took drugs such as LSD, MDMA or psilocybin
(magic mushrooms) prior to their incarceration were arrested for
domestic battery within six years of their release 27% of the time.

That's compared to inmates with no history of ingesting psychedelic
substances being arrested for domestic battery at a rate of 42%.

Walsh, who co-authored the study with University of Alabama professor
Peter Hendricks, said the findings are further evidence that
psychedelic medicine has great potential in the treatment of mental
health issues.

"We didn't have control over the set and setting in which the people
consumed the drugs, they were just taking them in probably a social
setting," said Walsh. "If we could do this in a more controlled and
reliable environment, I think we could see even more profoundly
positive effects."

Each of the 302 inmates monitored had histories of substance use prior
to their incarceration. They were tracked through FBI records for an
average of six years post-release.

Considering the self-reported use of psychedelic drugs by inmates took
place prior to being incarcerated, Walsh said it's possible his
findings illustrate a long-term effect of the substances.

"Unlike a lot of pharmacological treatments that take repeated
administrations, the psychedelic therapy seems almost to work more
like a surgery in that one or two interventions ... with some
preparation and some follow-up (may be effective,") said Walsh.

Walsh said some are describing the return to researching the medicinal
potential of these types of drugs - studied more in the mid-20th
century before being labelled as controlled substances - as "a
psychedelic renaissance." As an example, the past few years have seen
MDMA touted as a possible remedy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Now that (attitudes) seem to be loosening up, at least in the public
consciousness, we're seeing more and more studies highlighting that
potential once again," said Walsh.
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