“Drugs or no?” has been one of the defining questions of my quarantine experience. On the one hand, I’ve reasoned, I’m so sick of the inside of my apartment I’m tempted to burn it to the ground just so I have something new to look at. On the other, I worry that taking anything mind-altering will totally upend my already-tenuous sanity. On the other other hand...I do have several tabs of leftover Molly just sitting in a drawer, pleading to be eaten.
One Australian charity is helping move me firmly toward the “eat them” camp. Andrew Robb, a former Coalition MP and board member of the group Mind Medicine Australia, is encouraging the use of MDMA and psilocybin as possible treatments for the country’s flagging psychological wellbeing. Specifically, he’s urging the government to convene a covid-19 mental health task force, with the drugs to be one option that it considers.
“It is potentially the most significant innovation in mental health we’ve seen in decades,” Robb said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
“It is potentially the most significant innovation in mental health we’ve seen in decades. We would be derelict in our duty as a country if we didn’t take this opportunity to grab hold of this technology, and then see it’s introduced in a way which can potentially provide very significant benefit to many Australians.”
There’s already lots of evidence to suggest a correlation between psilocybin and improved mental health. In January, a study conducted at NYU found that it can reduce anxiety in patients up to five years after its taken.
Robb points out that “there has not been any major move forward in this mental health space for decades.”
“When we come out of this [pandemic] there will literally be tens of thousands of people coming out the other end of this needing treatment and needing help,” he said.
I’m still not sure whether this means we should be dosing ourselves while in quarantine, but frankly, there are certainly worse ways to pass the interminable hours and days than taking a hit of Molly and cuddling a houseplant, right?