Wednesday 30 November 2022

Party drugs may help depression but use must be monitored, doctors warn


Medication based on psychedelics such MDMA, ketamine en psilocybin is helping people with depression or post traumatic stress disorder but Dutch medics warn their introduction on the market will have to be carefully monitored.

Some one in five people in the Netherlands suffer from depression at some time or another in their lives and around a third do not improve using conventional medication.

While a nose spray containing ketamine is already being used for people with depression, doctors are concerned that people will start to experiment with the drugs, which are illegal but easily available, without professional guidance.

‘Involvement and finance from the government are crucial to enable independent, large scale research in a clinical setting’, some 15 doctors and scientists from a number of universities said in a manifesto.

The use of the so-called party drugs could ‘revolutionise’ treatment, professor of psychiatry Robert Schoevers told broadcaster NOS but research into their long-term effects and effects on vulnerable patients needs to done before they can be introduced safely.

Esketamine, a ketamine based drug, has already been registered as a treatment for people with severe depression and other psychedelics based drugs are expected to follow in the next few years.

Strict monitoring is necessary to prevent people from experimenting with the drug at home, Schoevers said. ‘We need proper training for psychologists and psychiatrists who use these drugs. Mental health facilities have to register the outcomes. That is the only way to see what works best in a range of people and what the long-term effects are.’

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.