New FDA Ecstasy Approved Trial Could Help Soldiers Treat PTSD

The Food and Drug Administration approves new trials for Ecstasy as a treatment for PTSD.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration agreed to new trials for Ecstasy as relief for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder patients.

The Food and Drug Administration gave approval on Tuesday for a large-scale, Phase 3 clinical trial of the drug, which is the final step before the approval of Ecstasy as a prescription drug.  If successful, the new ecstasy trials could transform an illegal substance to an available treatment for those suffering from PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that is caused by a stressful event. Symptoms include nightmares, severe anxiety, and panic attacks. A 2012 study found that patients suffering from PTSD reported a decrease in symptoms by nearly 60 percent. By the end of the study, more than 66 percent of the patients reported having PTSD.

It is important to point out that a recent study found that PTSD has quickly become a growing epidemic among American soldiers. In fact, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs believes that PTSD affects over 30 percent of Vietnam veterans, 10 percent of Desert Storm veterans, 11 percent of Iraqi war veterans.

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ANN ARBOR, MI – APRIL 5: Iraq war veteran Dakota Serna speaks of the benefits of marijuana in managing his PTSD at the 43rd annual Hash Bash rally in Ann Arbor, MI April 5, 2014. (Susan Montgomery /

In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a panel discussing PTSD and how it has evolved over the decades. The committee called the meeting, “The Nexus Between Engaged In Combat With The Enemy And PTSD In An Era Of Changing Warfare Tactics.”  

Ian C. De Planque, assistant Director of Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission pointed out one of the biggest problems with PTSD and the VA is the the claims process.

Planque illustrates a story in which two soldiers, an infantry man and a mechanic both see a  horrific incident. But, because of their jobs and circumstances, after returning home from combat, the soldiers may receive different treatments despite reporting the same symptoms.

“They must prove that the alleged incident occurred.  Here is where the two soldiers are then treated differently,” Planque explains. “The first veteran, the infantryman, has a combat infantry badge.  As long as his story is consistent with the hardships and circumstances of combat, which we can all agree that it is, the VA cedes the existence of the event and a claim is granted.”

Meanwhile, the second veteran has no combat decoration and is forced to actually prove he has seen combat. In addition to suffering from PTSD. “This veteran must now prove several things happened.  He must prove that he was on the convoy.  This can be difficult. If not impossible,” Planque says.

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NEW YORK – JUL 16, 2016: Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on July 16, 2016 in New York. (JStone /

With Donald Trump becoming the next President of the United States, Trump has outlined his plans to help veterans. According to Donald Trump’s Veterans Affairs Reform plan, Trump’s vision includes:

  • Ensure our veterans get the care they need wherever and whenever they need it. No more long drives. No more waiting backlogs. No more excessive red tape. Just the care and support they earned with their service to our country.
  • Support the whole veteran, not just their physical health care, but also by addressing their invisible wounds, investing in our service members’ post-active duty success, transforming the VA to meet the needs of 21st century service members, and better meeting the needs of our female veterans.
  • Make the VA great again by firing the corrupt and incompetent VA executives who let our veterans down, by modernizing the VA, and by empowering the doctors and nurses to ensure our veterans receive the best care available in a timely manner.

It is projected that by year 2017, the  number of active troops will be slightly more than 1,281,900 plus another 801,200 in seven reserve components; this is the lowest number of active troops since WWII. Also, the Department of Defense budget was $598.5 billion or 54% of our federal discretionary spending in 2015.

The number of active troops is important because it answers the basic question, how many fronts can the US afford to fight in at the same time? In addition, the number of active troops addresses this by factoring in how and when can troops be rotated in and out of a conflict – The stress of war can wear people down, mentally and physically, most notably, PTSD.

Stock Photo: WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 6: Signage at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC on June 6, 2015. It includes a quote about caring for him wounded in battle and his widow and his orphan. (JStone /
Stock Photo: WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 6: Signage at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC on June 6, 2015. It includes a quote about caring for him wounded in battle and his widow and his orphan. (JStone /

However, two of the biggest issues most Veteran Organizations have are the quality and speed of healthcare services Veterans receive. In 2015, a VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona reported having more than 8,000 requests for health care and that many former soldiers had to wait longer than 90 days to receive any sort of care.

The U.S. government spent billions to fix the Veterans Health Administration and combat long wait-list times, a 2016 report found that the the agency still suffered serious problems. A Congressional committee in charge of trying to fix the Veterans Health Administration found “many profound deficiencies” at the government agency that “require urgent reform”. In addition, the commissioners argued, “America’s veterans deserve a better organized, high-performing health care system”.


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