The high road to beating addiction
I was intrigued to learn some so-called psychedelic, hallucinogenic or psychoactive drugs might actually cure some addictions. The mantra of most drug addiction programs and mainstream, alternative or luxury rehab centers has long been that you can’t cure addiction. Once an addict, always an addict. Even if you don’t use drugs or drink for 20 years, you could still relapse. An actual cure would be exciting news, especially considering the ongoing opioid prescription pill and heroin epidemic.
I’m skeptical of miracle cures, so I understand why the Food and Drug Administration won’t approve ibogaine without studies. But so far the government won’t supply the funds for study because of psychedelics’ bad reputation and the rhetoric employed by politicians. (No one wants to be brought up on the floor of the Senate or the House for advocating funding the medical use of psychedelic drugs when medical marijuana is still controversial.) Dr. Deborah Mash –- a Professor of Neurology and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and probably the top researcher on the use of ibogaine –- doesn’t claim it’s an addiction cure, only an addiction interrupter. It allows the brain to reset to before the addiction started. She adds that it should be taken under medical supervision, followed by therapy. By itself, she says, it won’t prevent a later relapse. However even patients who relapse seem to have an easier time getting clean later on. Prior use of hallucinogens by addicts is often seen as a good indicator of whom would complete a drug treatment program and stay sober, according to an article in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.