Prescription psychodelics: A Solution to the Opiate Epidemic?

Dosed

Directed by Jason Wade Hammonds (2019)

Film Review

This is a fascinating film about a Canadian heroin addict who faces the bleak choice between killing herself and seeking treatment with illegal psychodelic drugs. She has already tried several rounds of residential drug treatment and every psychotropic drug available. At the start of the documentary, she is relapsing several times a month despite being on Methadone maintenance, which makes her tired and depressed.

She initially starts with increasing doses of psilocybin (magic mushrooms), both in informal settings and under the supervision of counselors in specialized clinics.  Although the drug temporarily alleviates her anxiety and panic attacks (her main complaints), the effect dissipates after a few days and she relapses.

She eventually gains admittance to a Ibogaine* treatment center, where she attempts to detox off Methadone and heroin over a period of two weeks. The Ibogaine is believed to work in two ways: 1) by reactivating endogenous brain opiate receptors that have been shut down by the heroin and Methadone and 2) by helping patients connect (in a supportive environment) with original traumatic events that triggered the addition.

She takes two doses of Ibogaine five days apart. On day nine she has a massive panic attack, relapses and is started back on 80 mg long acting morphine (easier to detox from than Methadone) a day. She is then admitted her for a third Ibogaine dose to help her detox off the morphine.

Four months later she is totally off all all opiates and receiving monthly mega dose psilocybin or Ibogaine (in a therapeutic setting) to control the panic attacks. After seven months, the panic attacks are under control with monthly microdosing with Ibogaine and/or psilocybin

After 12 months she is totally of opiates and volunteering full time working with patients with mental health and addiction problems.

The film features many prominent psychodelics researchers and practitioners, including Dr Gabor Mate, who interviews her to assess her suitability for psychodelic treatment. There seems to be consensus among researchers that psilocybin, MDMA (ecstasy) and Ibogaine will be the first psychodelics the US government licenses for prescription.


*Ibogaine is currently licensed for prescription in Canada for heroin withdrawal.

The full film can be viewed free on Kanopy.

 

 

 

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