This is part 1 in a series of projects by BehaviourWorks Australia, in collaboration with the Neuromedicines Discovery Centre (NDC), to explore attitudes of Australian adults, organisations and politicians towards the use of psychedelic drugs to treat mental health conditions in medically supervised environments.
Research into the use of psychedelic drugs as medication to treat mental health conditions alongside other treatments (e.g. talking therapies or psychotherapies) is increasing. The NDC is particularly interested in exploring attitudes of Australian adults towards the use of psychedelics (such as MDMA, an active ingredient in Ecstasy, and psilocybin, an active ingredient in magic mushrooms) as approved therapeutics for the treatment of chronic mental health concerns.
For this first part of the study, we surveyed 1,719 Australian adults to capture and measure their attitudes and beliefs towards the use of psychedelic drugs to treat mental health conditions.
In mid-2022, a total of 1,719 Australian adults responded to an online survey capturing sociodemographics (e.g. political alignment, postcode), knowledge, and attitudes towards the funding of research and use of psychedelic drugs for treatment of different mental health conditions (i.e. mild depression, alcohol use disorder).
By design, most respondents were located in Victoria, lived in metropolitan areas, had completed tertiary education and were not religious. Half of the sample had personally experienced a mental health condition and, on average, respondents trusted doctors and scientists.
We found that the sample tended to approve of using psychedelics and non-psychedelics (i.e. ketamine) for medically supervised use more than recreational use. More respondents agreed than disagreed that they find psychedelic assisted treatment to be acceptable and that psychedelic drugs:
Though this sample showed that most Australian adults appear cautiously optimistic of the use of psychedelic drugs to treat mental health conditions in medically supervised environments, there was still some level of scepticism. This research suggests some potential for attitude change.
Download the full report below for an in-depth read:
Kunstler, B., Hatty, M., Genat, A., Smith, L., Goodwin, D., & Langmead, C. Attitudes and beliefs aboutthe medically supervised use of psychedelic medications for the treatment of mental health conditions. Melbourne, Australia: BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University, November 2022.
More information on part 2 of the series of projects can be found, here:
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