Ketamine-based medical clinic opens in West Campus

Hope Unger, News Reporter

A new psychedelic medical clinic opened last month in West Campus to offer a patient-guided healing journey through treatments using ketamine, an FDA-approved anesthetic for combatting depression.

The Within Center, located at 612 W. 22nd St., is a retreat center that offers up to one-month stays to patients as they receive treatments. The staff consists of physicians, doctors, therapists, coaches and practitioners, said chief operating officer Josh Marquez. Marquez said since opening, the Center has treated at least 75 patients. 

Marquez said potential clients go through a pre-admissions assessment with a nurse practitioner and clinical director to see if they are qualified for the ketamine treatments. If a client is eligible, they receive a ketamine injection and are monitored to ensure they are having a good reaction. Marquez said six to eight ketamine treatments are recommended to see the full psychological effect. He said a patient’s full transformation also includes improving gut health through diet regulation. 

Marquez said their average clientele includes people walking past the Center who are looking to explore alternatives to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of antidepressants. He said the patients are a mixture of college students, stay-at-home moms, first responders, people suffering from dual diagnosis and people suffering from substance abuse disorders. 

“It’s a prime location for anybody that’s walking by, for anybody that is in the area that really wants to heal,” Marquez said. “I know it does get noisy outside, but we’ve done a pretty good job in trying to drown out the sound here.”

Marquez said the patient housing that the Center offers is affordable when compared to medical treatment housing worldwide. According to the Within Center website, the one-month program ranges from $9,957 to $13,500 including rent and treatments.

Some West Campus residents, such as international relations junior JT Froese, said they were surprised to hear the center was a medical facility.

Froese is a resident and leasing consultant at Villas on Rio, located across the street from the Center. He said he has seen people smoking and drinking on the patio. Before knowing the building was a psychedelic medical center, Froese said he thought it was a frat house.

“West Campus is not a place where broke college students live,” Froese said. “A lot of the rent here is pretty high, so I think there’s definitely a small amount of people that would be able to afford (the ketamine treatments).”

Greg Fonzo, co-director of the UT Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy, said people should do independent research before undertaking ketamine treatment approaches.

“It has a rapid antidepressant effect,” said Fonzo, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “It will usually come on within a matter of hours, but also tends to be short-lived and usually will last maybe a few weeks.”