New research is being conducted into the efficiency of MDMA as a treatment for alcoholism at Imperial College London. 

The trial includes those with a background of alcohol abuse, from heavy drinkers to relapsing alcoholics. The 20 subjects will be given doses of 99.9% pure MDMA in all-day therapy sessions. Participants will also be required to undergo a two-day detox period, and spend time meditating once they have taken the drug. 

Ben Sessa, a clinical psychiatrist involved in the study, emphasises that the trial does not focus on the drug itself, but on parent-doctor relationships and the impact of traumatic experiences on alcoholism recovery. 

“We know that MDMA works really well in helping people who have suffered trauma and it helps to build empathy,” Sessa explained at Breaking Convention in London. “Many of my patients who are alcoholics have suffered some sort of trauma in their past and this plays a role in their addiction.

“After 100 years of modern psychiatry our treatments are really poor. The chances of relapse for these patients are really high – 90 per cent at three years. No one has ever given MDMA to treat alcoholism before.”

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