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A Psychedelic Breaks Addiction and Withdrawal. Why Is It Controversial? | News Roundup

All Sober compiles the best of the latest headlines. Here's your addiction and recovery news for the week of Feb. 13, 2023!

A Psychedelic Breaks Addiction and Withdrawal. Why Is It Controversial? | News Roundup

The Psychedelic Ibogaine Can Treat Addiction. The Race Is On To Cash In | The Guardian

"'The types of people who have tried every other method of rehabilitation and have had them not work are really desperate and are sometimes willing to compromise their safety and values to get help,' said Tom Feegel, CEO of Beond, an ibogaine therapy provider in Cancun, Mexico. 'That’s what allows this Wild West methodology to exist.' … Without proper care people have died, usually from cardiac arrest."

While the potential anti-addiction and withdrawal-alleviating properties of ibogaine have been known since the 1960s, the drug is both an intense psychedelic and a stimulant, its mechanisms poorly understood and its therapeutic use largely unregulated. There are other complications. Ibogaine is extracted from the iboga shrub, and most is illegally exported from Gabon, where it is a protected plant. Demand has incentivized sellers to traffic fake or tainted versions. Ibogaine is only legal in a handful of countries.

Still, some recent studies have shown the drug to be a promising treatment for opioid use disorder, with success outcomes as high as 50%. Ibogaine's detox-supporting effects make it unique among psychedelics used to treat substance use disorders. Scientists are working on synthesizing its active anti-addiction components, and some American lawmakers have introduced bills to decriminalize ibogaine, part of a broader push to legalize psychedelics.

Photo by Marco Schmidt / CC BY-SA 2.5

If Fentanyl Is So Deadly, Why Do Drug Dealers Use It To Lace Illicit Drugs? | ABC News

"A fraction of fentanyl could mimic the highs of other opioids, like heroin or prescription painkillers. Dealers will often use simple binding agents and a small amount of fentanyl when making counterfeit opioid pills or what they say is heroin. … Eric Falkowski, an incarcerated former fentanyl dealer interviewed by ABC News, claimed he could make over ten times the amount of counterfeit opioid pills with a kilo of fentanyl rather than with a kilo of traditional components."

Luxury Rehab Centers Now Offer Therapy for 'Crypto Addiction' | BBC News

"The centers argue that while crypto addiction has strong parallels with gambling, it's also more addictive—for one, it's more exciting because it's so unstable, and the trades can happen round the clock. 'Crypto trading has an air of being legitimate, whilst gambling is more talked about as being potentially problematic,' said Jan Gerber, chief executive at Zurich-based rehab center Paracelsus Recovery. Seeking help is also less common, he adds, because crypto trading is largely unregulated."

DMX's 10-Year-Old Daughter Plans To Make a Docuseries for Kids—About Fentanyl | Los Angeles Times

"After the rapper's death, Sonovah asked her mom if she could visit a rehabilitation facility because she wanted to better understand what her father grappled with. After reaching out, an Oakland facility agreed to let her stop by. 'I heard my dad talk about it in an interview. I just wanted to see what the experience was,' she said. 'A lot of adults are uncomfortable about the conversation that I want to have with them.'"

In Case You Missed It: Week of Feb. 6, 2023

Provocative Anti-Drug Ads Target a New Generation Concerned With Sustainability | Adweek

"The ads expose the human impact of recreational drug use and link it to the violence and exploitation of the illegal drug trade—showing how partying can support problems such as child labor or the destruction of rainforests. … 'With the new campaign, we want young drug users to think twice before taking party drugs in their favorite restaurant and bar or when out clubbing,' said Eva Wallmark, art director at ad agency Åkestam Holst NoA."

The new anti-drug campaign in Sweden, from the organization Pubs Against Drugs (Krogar mot Knark), is just one example of how advertisers are trying to reach young people at a time when many drugs are more dangerous than ever to both individuals and society. Some ads, like New York City's "Let's Talk Fentanyl" harm-reduction messages aimed at people who use drugs, have been controversial.

Advertisers are also courting the many young consumers who are gravitating toward sobriety or reduced alcohol use. With the Super Bowl coming up, at least one company is planning to spend big to promote its nonalcoholic offering: Heineken is betting on a spot featuring Paul Rudd as Ant-Man for its 0.0 brand.

How a Cocaine-Smuggling Cartel Infiltrated the World’s Biggest Shipping Company | Bloomberg Businessweek

"More than 100 agents boarded one of MSC's ships, the Gayane, as it slid into the Port of Philadelphia for what was supposed to be a quick stop on its way to Rotterdam. Deep below deck, hidden in containers packed with wine and nuts, the agents discovered nearly 20 tons of cocaine, worth $1 billion. The ensuing investigation showed that more than a third of the crew—all MSC employees—had helped transfer vast amounts of cocaine from speedboats at night while the ship powered through the open ocean off South America. It was the largest maritime drug bust in American history."

Study: People Who Regularly Drink Alcohol Could Be More Prone to Internet, Gaming and Exercise Addiction | Yale School of Medicine

"'These findings can contribute to the scientific knowledge on addictions which affects millions of people worldwide,' said Dr. Zsolt Demetrovics, professor of psychology at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. 'A novelty of the study is that it explores the relationships between substance use and non-substance-related addictive behaviors in detail. It could bring us closer to understanding the overlap between the vulnerability of different types of potentially addictive behaviors. For example, being vulnerable to problematic alcohol use might also pose an increased risk for gambling, video game use or working addiction.'"

After Record Drug Deaths, There Have Been Major Reforms in Addiction Treatment | NPR

"'A lot of people, most people with addiction, still get no help of any kind, which is crazy because there are actually great medications, like methadone and buprenorphine and naloxone. These drugs help people stop using opioids. Or they help reverse overdoses before they're fatal,' said NPR correspondent Brian Mann. 'And so what's happened [in 2022] is the Biden administration and Congress have pushed through a series of really major reforms … And all these reforms are making it easier for doctors and medical clinics to prescribe these lifesaving medications.'"

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