Over the last few years, you have perhaps noticed this trend: The media is totally on the psychedelic drug bandwagon. Scientific bodies and government agencies echo the refrain chanted by the media: They’re great for treating alcoholism, drug addiction and mental ills. This is not the first time we've heard rave recommendations for broadly increasing the use of potentially dangerous drugs: the marketing that drove us into the opioid crisis is but one example. So, is it safe to buy into the enthusiasm or should we be taking a careful, closer look at the effects of these drugs?
Medication-assisted treatment is America's primary offering for those who are addicted. But implicit in the word “treatment” is recovery from an illness or other condition—as in "not suffering from that condition any longer." Is medication-assisted treatment really a recovery-oriented therapy? Or is its primary role preventing a person from relapse and overdose? These are questions those involved in addiction recovery should be asking.
In our interview with Dr. Amerling he expressed concerns about the pharmaceutical industry's dominance over medicine, the limitations of evidence-based medicine, and the use of medication-assisted treatment in addiction medicine. He also criticizes medical schools for compressing basic sciences and promoting arbitrary guidelines over critical thinking. Dr. Amerling advocates for physicians to take back their authority, prioritize patients' lifestyle choices and abstinence in addiction medicine, and to avoid over-reliance on pharmaceuticals.
In March 2020, Stanford Medicine News Center released a report addressing that question. A Stanford researcher and two collaborators conducted an extensive review of AA studies. Their findings stated that the AA fellowship helps more people achieve sobriety than therapy does.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is launching an Office of Recovery, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, to advance the agency’s commitment to, and support of, recovery for all Americans. September marks National Recovery Month, and in organizing this new office, SAMHSA will now have a dedicated team with a deep understanding of recovery to promote policies, programs and services to those in or seeking recovery.
LaShondra Jones went through years of mental illness and alcohol addiction, and in her late 40s she was living in a women’s shelter in Brooklyn. Finally stable and sober, she needed work — any type of work — for which her history wouldn’t count against her. Jones Googled “free training in NYC” and learned that several area community colleges offered training for people to become certified recovery peer advocates for those coping with alcohol or drug addiction. Her experience, in this case, would be a big plus.
CSDAP supports Recovery Month and International Recovery Day, September 30th. These are annual observances dedicated to globally promoting all pathways to recovery from addiction and to educate the public about the value of recovery. We commend groups like Faces & Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) that put a lot of effort into promoting and celebrating these events.
Dee MacLean first tried SMART Recovery when she was in the provincial addiction treatment centre in Mount Herbert in 2018. After three years of struggling with prescription opiate addiction, MacLean was ready to go to rehab. One of the programs she took part in was Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART), an alternative to traditional groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).