Friday, August 11, 2006


Psychedelic Drugs Have Benefits For Addicts, Studies Show

Back in the 1960s, there was a great deal of experimental work being done with psychedelic drugs; at first, of course, it was thought the compounds mimicked psychosis. This was disproved: but researchers realized that psychedelics combined with intense insight therapy offered a great deal of potential for life-changing experienes.

Unfortunately, the research basically came to an end with an outbreak of anti-drug hysteria. Yet many of us to who ventured into space with psychedelics found joy and a sense of OK-ness with the drugs. I know my own adventures didn’t harm me and I still have some memories of utter amazement at the cohesion and benevolence of mystical experiences.

Now, up in Canada, a country rather immune to the drug-scares that periodically sweep through America, researchers are trying the use of psycho-active drugs in getting addicts and alcoholics to lead clean and sober lives. Some people will go through the roof when they hear this, but it should be remembered that Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was willing to try LSD. It did not, repeat: did not, cause him to relapse.

Psychedelics could help addicts, say B.C. drug officials
Last Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2006 | 2:59 PM PT
CBC News

Some of Vancouver's top drug policy officials say the city should consider treating drug and alcohol addicts with psychedelic drugs to help them turn their lives around.

Zarina Mulla, the social planner for the City of Vancouver's drug policy program, says hallucinogens such as peyote and ayahuasca could offer addicts "profound benefits."

"There have been profound, lasting and positive behavioural and lifestyle changes in the clients who were given that sacrament," she told CBC News.

"I say this as a treatment so it is under very ritualistic and therapeutic conditions. It helps people understand who they are and leads to a process of self examination and recovery."

She co-authored a report last year saying the use of peyote and ayahuasca could be "beneficial," and is recommending that the city spend some money to look into the idea.

The idea already has the support of other drug addiction experts, including David Marsh, the head of addiction medicine at the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

"My feeling is that people with substance abuse disorders should have the same treatment as people with cancer or heart disease. If there is a natural compound that shows some promise, it should be rigorously evaluated and if proven effective it should be offered."

The city report was released following a report by the Health Officers Council of British Columbia that also suggested that medical use of psychedelic drugs could be useful.

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall also thinks that used properly, the psychedelic drugs could help addicts change their lives.

"Anything that fundamentally alters their perception of themselves may potentially have a therapeutic use as an adjunct," said Kendall.

So far, there are no plans to set up a clinical trial in Vancouver.

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