Editors and news directors:
Special K and ecstasy have long been known as party drugs – mind-altering substances that could be found at dance clubs and electronic music performances around the world. Now, the two are at the forefront of a movement to bring recreational drugs into U.S. doctors’ offices. Ketamine is being used today as an unapproved treatment for depression and suicidal behavior, while MDMA is being looked at as a possible treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
This week, the AP will offer a two-day series on the club drugs and the possibilities and pitfalls of them being used as medications.
Each story will be made available for immediate use.
Wednesday, Oct. 31
CHICAGO – It was launched decades ago as an anesthetic for animals and people, became a potent battlefield pain reliever in Vietnam and morphed into the trippy club drug Special K. Now the chameleon drug ketamine is finding new life as an unapproved treatment for depression and suicidal behavior. Clinics have opened around the United States promising instant relief with their “unique” doses of ketamine in IVs, sprays or pills. And desperate patients are shelling out thousands of dollars for treatment often not covered by health insurance, with scant evidence on long-term benefits and risks. By Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner. MOVED: 1,200 words, photos, video for immediate use.
Thursday, Nov. 1
WASHINGTON – Since founding his nonprofit dedicated to promoting mind-altering drugs, Rick Doblin has gotten married, raised three children and earned a doctorate from Harvard. And after 32 years of false starts, setbacks and regulatory hurdles he has brought MDMA – the illegal, all-night party drug – to the brink of medical legitimacy. The Food and Drug Administration has labeled the drug, also called ecstasy, a potential “breakthrough” for post-traumatic stress disorder and cleared late-stage studies to begin this month. If successful, MDMA could become the first psychedelic drug to make the leap to prescription medicine. By Health Writer Matthew Perrone. UPCOMING: 1,500 words, photos by 9 a.m. for immediate use.