Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jan 2018
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Sun Media
Author: Steph Crosier
Page: A1


In the hope of spreading awareness of the therapeutic benefits of
MDMA, commonly known as ecstacy, one local psychotherapist is
encouraging Kingstonians to explore and discuss the opportunities of
psychedelic drugs.

"MDMA is an empathogen, it gives you more empathy and self-compassion,
and so when you're in therapy with it you can look at your trauma with
a little bit more openness," Richard Tyo, a registered psychotherapist
and member of the Kingston Psychedelic Society, said on Wednesday. "It
can really accelerate a lot of therapy."

Last August, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) was granted a
Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD), said a news release from the non-profit Multidisciplinary
Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

"For the first time ever, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy will be
evaluated in Phase 3 trials for possible prescription use, with
MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD leading the way," Rick Doblin,
founder and executive director of MAPS, said in a news release. "Now
that we have agreement with the FDA, we are ready to start
negotiations with the European Medicines Agency."

The Kingston Psychedelic Society doesn't promote the use or
distribution of illegal substances but does believe in safe use, harm
reduction, education and truth when it comes to legal and illegal
substances, a news release from the group reads. "I think a lot of the
opinions that a lot of people have about these substances are based
off of a lot of false information and a lot of fear and stereotypes,"
Tyo said. "The research coming out now is showing that to have a
difficult experience [with psychedelics] is different from having a
bad trip."

Tyo explained that MDMA and other psychedelic substances bring forth
repressed material, emotions and trauma from the user's subconscious.
So if the user isn't trained or ready, it can be harmful.

"In a therapeutic setting, if someone is ready for that, they know
it's going to come up and they've been trained on the skills to deal
with it and they have someone with them, then that can be very
therapeutic and healing," Tyo said. "MDMA, the FDA has deemed it a
breakthrough therapy, so there's nothing that's better than it right
now. Now they're in Phase 3 trials, so they're going through the same
processes of any other drug company and they're showing that there
minimal amount of harm and that this can be a certain protocol."

Tyo said one of the roles of the Psychedelic Society isn't necessarily
promoting psychedelic drug use, but if someone is using it urges
people to do it in a safe and informed way. Tyo said he is hyperaware
of the various opinions on the use of drugs. He said the society is a
well-informed group interested in the therapeutic possibilities of
psychedelic substances.

"It's different researchers in town, I work in front-line mental
health, It's different social workers, it's university students, it's
artists," Tyo said. "It's a variety of different people that are very
intrigued by these substances, because they do a lot of things in
therapy that we can't do in normal therapy because there are so many
blocks that people have."

The next public meeting of the Kingston Psychedelic Society will be on
Feb. 4 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at The Mansion.

For more information about the group, go online to .
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MAP posted-by: Matt