One of the myths of the War on Drugs involves the criminalization of those who use psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. In recent years, it has been shown that users of these types of substances are less likely to suffer from mental illness, psychological distress, and suicidal thinking. Recent research has gone a step further and shown how psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can be effective treatment for certain disorders like substance use disorders.
A new study that was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology showed that psychedelic use is associated with a decreased chance of opioid abuse and also dependence among those respondents who have a history of illegal opioid use. There was a 40% reduced risk of opioid abuse in the past year and a 27% decreased risk of opioid dependence in the past year among those who used psychedelics. Aside from marijuana, which saw a 55% decreased chance of past-year abuse of opioids, no other illegal substance caused a decreased risk of past-year opioid abuse or dependence.
The study draws from six years of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The authors of the study reveal that the associations between psychedelic use and the lack of opioid abuse are “pervasive and significant”. More research needs to be completed to determine why, the study does confirm the statements of those who have found drugs like marijuana, ibogaine, and kratom to be tools that have led to them having better mental health and peace of mind. In many cases, these substances were useful in helping individuals to decrease opiate use. When it comes to the discussion about addiction, drug abuse, and overdose, safe and legal access to these substances should be a part of the conversation as well as ending the War on Drugs.
It’s certainly not just that our current president is increasing the War on Drugs, and he thinks the best way to deal with opioid addiction is to build a wall and deport millions of documented and undocumented citizens. It’s also completely unjust that thousands of people are getting arrested and incarcerated for possessing psychedelic substances in this country.
It is clear that this study tells us that we need to have a more holistic approach to the treatment of addiction in this country. The treatment of addiction may need to include medication or the use of other substances.