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Hallucinogenic Mushrooms & Cocaine Addiction

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have been experimenting with the use of psilocybin from hallucinogenic mushrooms to treat cocaine addiction. The study was led by clinical psychologist Peter Hendricks and his colleagues. They found that felons who were administered clinical trials of psilocybin were less likely to fall back into previous patterns of crime and drug use.

Studying the Impact of Psilocybin on Cocaine Addiction

For subjects, the team turned to the Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC), a federal program that links drug felons with treatment programs. About 30,000 felons from around the U.S. participate in TASC.

So how does one cure drug dependency with another Schedule I drug? According to Hendricks, hallucinogens have gotten a bad reputation since the controversies of the 1960s. He noted that Timothy Leary, LSD inventor and Harvard professor, was an extremist who advocated unfettered access to hallucinogens for the entire population.

“No one that I know is going the route of Timothy Leary who really was unhinged and advocated for everybody to use,” said Hendricks.

The treatment may work because it gives the addict a different perspective on their disease that may induce a life-changing revelation. The doctor compared it to Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Hendricks related that, “Something profound happened to Ebenezer Scrooge.” He continued, “Think of Saul on the road to Damascus, a great persecutor of Christians, has some sort of experience and transforms overnight.”

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Unlike opioids such as heroin, there is no methadone clinic that cocaine users can go to. A similar substance that has the same effect as cocaine has yet to be discovered. Most treatment programs use behavioral therapy on cocaine addicts.

The whole process is complicated by the fact that cocaine users tend to use multiple drugs—such as alcohol and heroin—at the same time. Oftentimes there are psychological issues and traumatic experiences to deal with as well. Moderate success has been reported through residential treatment programs, support groups like Cocaine Anonymous, as well as motivational incentives.

When it comes to care for those struggling with substance misuse or abuse, there are levels of care for them to pursue as they begin work on their recovery. Treatment may include care at a medical detox facility, inpatient addiction treatment, outpatient addiction treatment programs, as well as addiction treatment aftercare programs.

If you are looking for treatment, you can reach out to one of our admissions navigators at . They can provide all the care, support, and information that you need as you begin your journey toward sobriety.

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