Americans with opioid addiction seeking psychedelic treatment in Mexico
What’s Trending Mar 07, 2018
Americans with opioid addiction seeking psychedelic treatment in Mexico

The opioid epidemic, which has ravaged the United States, has left behind millions of chronic users who are desperately trying to get clean. Some of them who fail to seek treatment at home for a number of reasons make it to Mexico to break free from addictive opioids. The Ibogaine Institute in Mexico’s Rosarito is one such place, where many Americans are flocking to receive treatment for their addiction.

The Mexican institute offers seven- and 30-day recovery programs for people with a variety of substance use disorders. However, there is a twist in the treatment administered to patients at the center. It begins with ibogaine, a natural African psychedelic, and ends with ayahuasca, a popular South American plant-based hallucinogen. Significantly, both the drugs are illegal in the U.S.

Patients say that ibogaine is effective in calming opioid withdrawals and preventing relapses. However, what makes the ibogaine therapy unique is that unlike daily replacement therapies involving methadone or buprenorphine, this is a one-time treatment. In 1970, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed ibogaine, along with psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and LSD, under the Schedule I category owing to lack of medicinal benefits and the risk of seizures and hallucinations in users.

Ways to minimize addiction to opioid painkillers

Although using psychedelics to treat addiction to prescription opioids or any other drug may sound convenient, there is always the risk of running away from abusing one substance only to become dependent on another. Over the years, studies have shown that victims of opioid addiction are neither powerless over their opioid addiction nor are they helpless victims of genetics or moral failures. All they need is determination to break free from opioid use disorder (OUD) and medical intervention from a professional rehabilitation center to regain control of their lives. Here are some important ways to deal with the opioid addiction:

  • Identifying vulnerability levels: Before prescribing any medications to manage pain, doctor must weigh the factors that could lead to addiction. Such factors include personal and family history of addiction to medicines, drugs, alcohol and tobacco and mood disorders.
  • Using medications as directed: Care should be taken not to misuse medications as a coping tool for unrelated problems. A painkiller is not the solution to relieve work-related stress.
  • Using alternative therapies to treat addiction: Medical practitioners are keen on expanding access to evidence-based treatment for addiction such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which includes medically assisted detoxification for people with OUD.
  • Storing medications safely: Opioid medications pose a risk of abuse, if they reach the hands of teenagers or the elderly. It is advisable to keep prescription painkillers out of reach of others to avoid misuse.
  • Seeking help if required: Addiction to medications is highly unpredictable and very much a possibility. Advice from a specialized doctor or a non-judging psychologist can help overcome an addiction.

It is crucial that the patients struggling with OUDs understand the potential risks associated with the long-term use of prescription drugs. Educating patients about prescription drug abuse is an important step toward preventing big health issues in the future. If a person is grappling with OUD, he/she should immediately seek professional help from a reputed drug addiction treatment provider.

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