Mind-bend­ing trial for ter­mi­nally ill

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Drugs Scourge - GRANT McARTHUR

DY­ING pa­tients will be treated with psy­che­delic syn­thetic magic mush­rooms un­der a med­i­cal trial aim­ing to ease the paralysing anx­i­ety felt by pal­lia­tive care pa­tients.

The mind-bend­ing drugs are hoped to give ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients a new per­spec­tive on their lives, guided by psychiatrists to re­move the fear and de­pres­sion which can of­ten take over their fi­nal months.

The con­tro­ver­sial trial from St Vin­cent’s Hos­pi­tal in Mel­bourne has taken more than a year to gain ap­proval by ethics com­mit­tees as well as fed­eral and state au­thor­i­ties, but will see the first of 30 pa­tients treated from April.

St Vin­cent’s clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Dr Mar­garet Ross said the study would see pa­tients given a sin­gle dose of psilo­cy­bin, which is so pow­er­ful it can un­lock a sec­tion of pa­tient’s brains to give them an al­tered out­look on their sit­u­a­tion ap­proach­ing death, last­ing for six months or more.

Up to three in 10 pal­lia­tive care pa­tients can ex­pe­ri­ence ex­treme dis­tress in their fi­nal months.

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