Envisioning Psychedelic Prescription Medicine in Europe: A Science Vision Quest

September 5, 2020 2:30 - 4:00

Location: Virtual Room 3


In 2013, the renowned neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt declared that international drug laws impinge upon the freedom of psychedelic science in a way similar to when the Catholic Church banned the telescope. Psychedelic substances such as LSD and psilocybin have been placed into the most restrictive drug category since around 1970, which ascribes them a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. Government funding for psychedelic science ceased and regulatory hurdles emerged, making it practically impossible for several decades to continue the promising research conducted in the 1950/60s. Yet, since 2006 psychedelics are again increasingly scientifically examined for the treatment of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. In particularly, clinical trials with MDMA and psilocybin have gained momentum, making it likely that these substances will be approved for drug-assisted psychotherapy in the United States and in Europe over the next few years. Thus, the question seems no longer to be “if” but when and how the medicalization of psychedelics will take place.

This session brings together actors from the field of psychedelic science to discuss the advent of psychedelic prescription medicine in Europe. It is designed as a Science Vision Quest in which participants collectively envision the ways in which psychedelics can be responsibly (re)integrated into European mental health systems. Questions to stimulate collective envisioning are: Which models for scaling psychedelic therapy and making it affordable could best serve the interests of patients? How can we ensure that the freedom of psychedelic science is not unnecessarily restricted and its results can be employed for the common good while mitigating potential risks? How can we broaden our horizon beyond the scientific framework to include indigenous and less mainstream healing practices and alternative worldviews? How might these voices enrich or challenge our Science Vision Quest?

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