A new psychedelic medical clinic opened last month on West Campus to offer a patient-guided healing journey through treatments using ketamine, an FDA-approved anesthetic to fight depression.
The Within Center, located at 612 W. 22nd St., is a retreat center that provides up to a month’s stay for patients while they receive treatments. The staff is made up of doctors, doctors, therapists, coaches and practitioners, said general manager Josh Marquez. Marquez said that since opening, the Center has treated at least 75 patients.
Marquez said potential clients go through a pre-admission assessment with a nurse practitioner and clinical director to see if they are qualified for ketamine treatments. If a client is eligible, they receive an injection of ketamine and are monitored to ensure they have a good reaction. Marquez said six to eight ketamine treatments are recommended to see the full psychological effect. He said completely transforming a patient also includes improving gut health through diet regulation.
Marquez said their average clientele includes people passing by the Center looking to explore alternatives to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of antidepressants. He said the patients were a mix of college students, stay-at-home moms, first responders, people with dual diagnoses and people with substance abuse disorders.
“It’s a prime location for anyone passing through, for anyone in the area who really wants to heal,” Marquez said. “I know it gets loud outside, but we’ve done a good job trying to drown out the sound here.”
Marquez said the patient housing offered by the Center is affordable when compared to medical care accommodation worldwide. According to On the Center’s websitethe one-month program ranges from $9,957 to $13,500, including rent and salaries.
Some West Campus residents, such as international relations junior JT Froese, said they were surprised to learn the center was a medical facility.
Froese is a resident and rental consultant at Villas on Rio, located across from the center. He says he saw people smoking and drinking on the terrace. Before he knew the building was a psychedelic medical facility, Froese said he thought it was a fraternity.
“West Campus is not a place for broke students to live,” Froese said. “A lot of the rent here is quite high, so I think there’s definitely a small number of people who could afford (the ketamine treatments).”
Greg Fonzo, co-director of the UT Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy, said people should do independent research before embarking on ketamine treatment approaches.
“It has a rapid antidepressant effect,” said Fonzo, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “It usually happens within a few hours, but also tends to be short-lived and usually lasts maybe a few weeks.”