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PERSPECTIVE article

Translating Psychedelic Therapies from Clinical Trials to Community Clinics: Building Bridges and Addressing Potential Challenges Ahead

Provisionally accepted
The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon
 Martin L. Williams1, 2*,  Diana Korevaar3, 4,  Renee Harvey5,  Paul B. Fitzgerald6, 7,  Paul Liknaitzky1, 7, Sean O'carroll8, Prashanth Puspanathan9, Margaret Ross3, Nigel Strauss3, 4, 5, 10 and  James Bennett-Levy11*
  • 1Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Australia
  • 2Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine (PRISM), Australia
  • 3St Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne), Australia
  • 4Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
  • 5Millswyn Clinic, Australia
  • 6Epworth Centre for Innovation in Mental Health, Epworth HealthCare, Australia
  • 7Department of Psychiatry, Monash University, Australia
  • 8Wild Mind Institute, Australia
  • 9Enosis Therapeutics, Australia
  • 10Department of Psychiatry, Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 11University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH), Australia

Research to explore the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapies to treat a range of mental illnesses is flourishing, after the problematic sociopolitical history of psychedelics led to the global shutdown of clinical research for almost forty years. Encouraged by positive results, clinicians and patients hope that further interruptions to research will be avoided, and that the early promise of these therapies might be fulfilled.
Researchers are currently focused on late-phase clinical trials, with relatively little consideration given to longer-term goals such as translation to community practice. Looking to identify and avoid potential pitfalls on the path to community clinics, a group of Australian clinicians and researchers met for a series of workshops to discuss possible obstacles.
Five broad categories of challenge were identified. Analysis led to some strategies, including public sector support of research and training to establish best practice and optimize translation, and funding to address issues of equitable access to treatment. Above all, strategic planning and professional cohesion are likely to be crucial for success.
Accordingly, our key recommendation is the establishment of a multidisciplinary advisory body, broadly endorsed and representing all major stakeholders, to guide policy and implementation of psychedelic-assisted therapies in Australia.
Although these challenges and strategies are framed within the Australian context, we sense that they may generalize to other parts of the world. Wherever they apply, we believe that anticipation of potential difficulties, and creative responses to address them, will be important to avoid roadblocks in the future and keep the “psychedelic renaissance” on track.

Keywords: psychedelics, Mental Health, clinical research, translation, community clinics, psilocybin, Trauma, Depression

Received: 07 Jul 2021; Accepted: 12 Oct 2021.

Copyright: © 2021 Williams, Korevaar, Harvey, Fitzgerald, Liknaitzky, O'carroll, Puspanathan, Ross, Strauss and Bennett-Levy. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Martin L. Williams, Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Clayton, 3800, Victoria, Australia, martin.williams@monash.edu
Prof. James Bennett-Levy, University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH), Lismore, 2480, New South Wales, Australia, james.bl@sydney.edu.au