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Top federal drug official says train has left station on drugs as reform movement spreads

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A high-ranking federal drug official says the “train left the station” on the drug.

People will continue to use substances like psilocybin — particularly as the reform movement expands and attention grows to potential therapeutic benefits — and so researchers and regulators will need to keep up, said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The comments came at a workshop on psychedelics hosted jointly by Volco and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) last week.

The NIDA official said that, to some extent, new drug trends have been difficult to address in the psychedelic field. But at the same time, she sees “also a great opportunity to tweak the way we do things.”

“What is that [National Institutes of Health] What can be done to help accelerate research in this area so that we can understand what are the potential for procured drug-based interventions, and ultimately the application? Volco said.

Part of the challenge for the agency and researchers is the fact that the drug is strictly prohibited as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the director separately told Marijuana Moment Friday in an emailed statement.

“Researchers must obtain a Schedule I registration which, unlike obtaining registrations for Schedule II substances (which includes fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine), is administratively challenging and time consuming,” she said. “This process may prevent some scientists from conducting research on Schedule I drugs.”

“In response to researchers’ concerns, NIDA is engaging in interagency discussions to facilitate research on Schedule I substances,” Volkow said, adding that the agency was “pleased” that the DEA recently announced plans Significant increase in the share of some narcotic drugs To be produced for research use.

“It will also be important to simplify the process of obtaining Schedule I recordings to advance the science on these substances, including examination of their therapeutic potential,” she said.

At Thursday’s event, the official spoke about how recent federally funded surveys have shown that fewer college-age adults are drinking alcohol and are choosing narcotics and marijuana instead. I discussed the results In a previous interview with Marijuana Moment like that.

“Let’s learn from history,” she said. “Let’s see what we learned from the marijuana experience.”

She said that while studies have found that marijuana use among young adults has generally remained stable or has declined amid the legalization movement, there has been an increase in cannabis consumption among adults. and “This is likely to happen [with psychedelics] As more and more attention is paid to these psychedelic drugs.”

“I think, to some extent, with all the interest the psychedelics have attracted, the train has left the station and people are going to start using it,” Volkow said. People will start using it either [the Food and Drug Administration] agree or not.

over there Many countries and localities where narcotic drugs are fixed They are explored and pursued legislatively and through ballot initiative processes.

On Wednesday — during the first part of the two-day federal event that saw nearly 4,000 registrants across 21 time zones — NIMH Director Joshua Gordon confirmed that his agency “has been supporting the search for psychedelic drugs for some time.”

“We can think of NIMH’s interests in studying cannabinoids both in terms of proving that they work and also in terms of showing the mechanism by which they work,” he said. “NIMH has a range of different funding opportunity announcements and other expressions that represent priorities aimed at automated focus and automated approaches to drug development.”

Meanwhile, Volkow has also made connections between psychedelic drugs and the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. She said, for example, that survey data showing increased drug use “may be a way people are using to try to escape” from the situation.

But she also took back a metaphor, saying that just as the pandemic has forced federal health officials to speed up the development and approval of COVID-19 vaccines due to the “urgency of the situation,” one could argue that “in fact there is the urgency to bring in treatments.” [such as emerging psychedelic medicines] For people with severe mental illness it can be devastating.”

But as Volkow pointed out, the Schedule I classification of these substances under federal law precludes such research and development.

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