Amid a wave of interest in medical applications of psychedelic drugs, Australia may become the next nation to host research on the controversial substances. Rick Doblin, head of the US-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies or MAPS, is offering funding for a potential Australian study of MDMA in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. MAPS has already funded a completed studies on the topic in the US and Switzerland, and is funding similar ongoing research in Israel, Canada, and the US. The organization currently lists the topic as their top priority.
Melbourne-based psychologist Stephen Bright has co-founded a similar organization in Australia, Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine or PRISM, which is particularly interested in MDMA/PTSD research. Bright and his colleague Martin Williams have called for a renaissance of psychedelic research in Australia in an insightful editorial published this summer. Retired Major Steve McDonald, himself a sufferer of PTSD stemming from his involvement in the 1993 civil war in Somalia, is also an advocate for MDMA research with regard to the disorder. No Australian health care institution or university, however, has yet been willing to be involved in such research, and the organization is still seeking a psychiatrist who would be willing to collaborate on such a project.