A heartbroken woman has sent a letter to Anthony Albanese pleading with the government to take further action to legalize alternative treatments for depression after her husband took his own life.
The woman, who only used Vanessa’s name, said her husband Franco had exhausted the list of drugs available to treat depression in Australia – to no avail.
In the 23-page letter, she listed all the treatments and their effects on her husband for more than 30 years, revealing that he reacted negatively to most.
In her rush to find solutions, Vanessa got in touch with Mind Medicine Australia, an organization that advocates for the approval of psychedelics for use as a treatment for depression, as used in several overseas countries. sea.
Unfortunately, with the regulations in force in Australia, there is no legal route to access these treatments.
She described the pain of living next to her husband going through a debilitating depression, detailing several side effects he experienced with Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)-approved drugs.
Side effects of these drugs included severe headaches, memory loss and bowel problems, with some drugs allegedly increasing his suicidal thoughts instead of stopping them.
“He suffered so deeply, for so long, until we finally reached the point of exhausting all the options the Australian medical system had to offer,” she wrote to Mr Albanese.
“Anthony, if that doesn’t highlight the absurd cruelty of the TGA’s current stance on psychedelic drugs, then frankly, I don’t know what will.
“In what world is it right to deny treatment-resistant Australians access to these potentially life-saving drugs on the pretext of ‘protecting’ them.”
She said her husband had taken a course in electrical convulsive therapy (ECT), “a process by which electricity is passed through your brain to induce a seizure to treat mental illness”.
She said Franco was hospitalized seven more times over the next three years where he received a “staggering 96” ECT, 24 transcranial magnetic stimulations and prescribed 19 different antidepressants and antipsychotics.
Patients undergoing psychedelic therapy have reported positive results overseas, with some making “significant” progress in just two to three sessions.
On October 21, 2022, the TGA again denied access to psychedelic drugs, citing insufficient evidence to justify their use.
Read Vanessa’s full letter to the Prime Minister here
Vanessa asked Mr Albanese – her local member in Sydney’s central west – to meet with her to discuss the current drug programming and to find a way to enable treatment-resistant patients to access the treatments used in the whole world.
This is in response to the TGA’s recent interim decision not to support the limited postponement of psilocybin, a compound found in “magic mushrooms” which can induce degrees of euphoria, and MDMA which is the drug of ecstasy and can increase mood.
If successful, the postponement will allow patients with treatment-resistant depression, like Franco, to access psychedelic-assisted therapy in a medical setting under the strict controls outlined in the postponement requests.
If approved, Australia will be in line with other countries, including Canada, Switzerland and Israel, in allowing access to these treatments through compassionate and expanded access schemes.
There has been progress on the issue in recent days abroad, notably in the United States.
On November 11, the state of Colorado became the second US state after Oregon to legalize facilitated psilocybin services.
“The legislation opens the door to treatments with other psychedelics and decriminalizes the personal use and possession of most entheogens,” researcher Dennis McKenna tweeted Friday.
The TGA’s final decision will be announced in December, with a public submission period currently open until November 24.