DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If researchers have their way, the illegal, highly addictive party drug known as Ecstasy could become a treatment option for PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. The FDA has given the green light to Phase 3 clinical trials, suggesting that approval could be in the very near future.
“My fear is that Ecstasy will create more problems than it solves,” says Jeff Hensley, Director of Clinical and Veteran Services at Equest. Equest is a wellness program that uses horses to provide assisted therapy and rehabilitation for children and adults with physical, mental, emotional and learning disabilities.
The Equest Dallas location backs up against the calm of the Great Trinity Forest and is a perfect place to help veterans heal their ragged emotional wounds. “There may be all kinds of chaos going on in the rest of their lives—once they get out here, it carves out a safe place,” said Hensley.
The only downside of treatment programs involving horses is that people have to be careful of where you step. And Hensley advises the same of the plan to introduce the highly addictive, feel good party drug, Ecstasy, as a treatment option for a veteran population already vulnerable to substance abuse.
“There is a place, a role for medication… it’s an important management tool in a lot of cases,” says Hensley, “but, when it gets to be a substitute for dealing with the long term issues that come up with PTSD, I think you’re just asking for trouble.”
Over the years, researchers have explored a number of treatments for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress—including research in North Texas using magnets. A veteran involved in those studies told CBS 11 in 2014 that her brain injury and PTSD changed who she was.
“I was very quick to anger, drinking a lot, I really hit rock bottom,” said Sara Poquette, when asked when drove her to treatment, “just fearing getting blown up.”
Now, those close to the Ecstasy option are urging caution—citing high instances of substance abuse in military veterans, already. Still, many clinicians are waiting to learn more.
“If it’s controlled, if we know what we’re dealing with, and this is a potential effective treatment option, then I would be in favor of it,” said Hensley. “I just think that we need to be very, very careful when going down this path.”