Psychedelic Therapeutics: Education, Advocacy Key to Overcoming Integration Hurdles

Drug Topics JournalDrug Topics May 2024
Volume 168
Issue 04

According to Sa’ed Al-Olimat, education and advocacy are key to ensure a safe and accessible landscape of psychedelic therapeutics, especially as the compounds inch closer to the mainstream health care market.

Although the future of mental health treatment may lie with psychedelic therapeutics, the path does not come without challenges. While a growing body of evidence has demonstrated the pharmacologic effects of the compounds in addressing the root causes of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, concerns such as those about misuse and education require careful consideration.

“There’s of course the benefit of people being able to access more care that’s sustainable and empowers them to find their inner healer,” said Sa’ed Al-Olimat, PharmD, co-founder of the Psychedelic Pharmacists Association, in a conversation with Drug Topics at this year’s American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting & Exposition. “Then there’s also the consequence of misinformed use, misuse, and a lack of vetted trusted support for those that are in such a vulnerable state of consciousness.”

Even without psychedelic therapeutics widely available, there’s already a bottleneck of trauma-informed psychotherapists, said Al-Olimat. This shortage of health care professionals makes it doubly important to educate clinicians on these compounds as they gain traction in research and with the FDA.

“When it comes to being able to be trained in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy [and] potentially psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy down the road, we need more training to take place,” said Al-Olimat. “We just need more clinicians to be curious, explore it, and be able to be that access point to care.”

To bridge this training gap, Al-Olimat urges pharmacists to read more, watch more, and get involved.

“If you’re a pharmacist, or a pharmacist ally, and you want to find a way to learn and educate others about psychedelics, but also take an active role in advocating for our profession…please consider joining the Psychedelic Pharmacists Association,” said Al-Olimat. “We’re a nonprofit dedicated to pharmacists [and] led by pharmacists for the purpose of educating others on psychedelics, advocating for our profession to be included in this care, and also building a community for pharmacists in this space.”

Read more of our coverage from the 2024 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition here.

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