Do psilocybin, LSD and MDMA finally gain medical significance? The worldwide increase in mental health diseases such as depression and substance use disorders is a serious global crisis (WHO Mental Health Action Plan): 13% of the global burden of disease is due to mental health diagnoses. For some diseases, effective psychotherapy is not available or only available to a limited extent, and the development of new psychiatric drugs with fewer side effects has long been idle. In this situation, more than 30 universities worldwide are researching psychedelics-assisted treatments of depression, addiction, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder – with astonishing interim results to date. In Germany, too, universities are on the way to researching such therapies that have now been approved for evaluation as breakthrough therapies by the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) in the USA. Prejudices and the memory of accidents in the context of esoteric underground therapies still determine the attitudes of doctors, psychotherapists and the press in Germany. What contributes here to rational risk-assessment and at the same time does justice to the ethical obligation to help patients in despair? How could psychedelics-assisted therapies take a serious and effectiveness-oriented place in the health care system and even contribute to the renewal of psychiatry? Will comparable public health risks – unwanted side effects – arise as from the widespread use of tranquilizers, stimulants and opiates without a doctor’s prescription – or how can this be prevented?
Dr. Henrik Jungaberle will provide data and concepts that support changes in common misrepresentations about psychedelic states, therapies and their benefit-risk ratio. He tries to provide the larger public health picture and a frame for research and practice to come.