Fernando Vergara / AP

The Food and Drug Administration designated the drug MDMA, known as Ecstasy, a "breakthrough therapy" for PTSD treatment earlier this month. The designation will expedite the agency's review of the drug, depending on the outcome of a clinical trial to test its effect versus that of standard psychotherapy. Ecstasy is in the DEA's category of Schedule 1 drugs, meaning that it is among substances with the highest potential for abuse, like heroin.

Why it matters: 11-20% of veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from PTSD, per the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and it is this group in particular that researchers hope ecstasy can help.

  • "We're in this odd situation where one of the most promising therapies also happens to be a Schedule 1 substance," former Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton said to the Washington Post.
  • "This is not a big scientific step ... It's been obvious for 40 years that these drugs are medicine. But it's a huge step in acceptance," David Nutt, a scientist at Imperial College London, told Science.
  • One concern is that approving Ecstasy for PTSD will embolden groups seeking to legalize the drug for recreational use, the Post reports.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

China-Iran deal envisions massive investments from Beijing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China and Iran have negotiated a deal that would see massive investments flow into Iran, oil flow out, and collaboration increase on defense and intelligence.

Why it matters: If the proposals become reality, Chinese cash, telecom infrastructure, railways and ports could offer new life to Iran’s sanctions-choked economy — or, critics fear, leave it inescapably beholden to Beijing.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 13,048,249 — Total deaths: 571,685 — Total recoveries — 7,215,865Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,353,348— Total deaths: 135,524 — Total recoveries: 1,031,856 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
  4. States: Houston mayor calls for two-week shutdownCalifornia orders sweeping rollback of open businesses — Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Education: Los Angeles schools' move to online learning could be a nationwide tipping point.

House Judiciary Committee releases transcript of Geoffrey Berman testimony

Geoffrey Berman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday released the transcript of its closed-door interview with Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who was forced out by Attorney General Bill Barr last month.

Why it matters: House Democrats have seized on Berman's testimony, in which he claimed the attorney general sought to "entice" him into resigning so that he could be replaced by SEC chairman Jay Clayton, to bolster allegations that the Justice Department has been politicized under Barr.