Illegal Drugs Treat Alcoholism

Drug Policy Question of the Week – 3-19-12

As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 3-19-12.

Question of the Week: Can illegal drugs cure alcoholism?

Several illegal drugs are showing promise for reducing the harm and death associated with alcoholism.

In 2011, the Journal of Legal Medicine overviewed Ibogaine,

“… a naturally occurring psychoactive substance derived from the roots of the Tabernanthe iboga shrub … It allowed patients to revisit their past experiences objectively and without the negative emotions experienced during the actual incident, which, in turn, enabled them to confront and resolve deep personal conflicts.”

The report concluded,

“ibogaine promises the real possibility of substantially lowering the costs shifted to society by drug and alcohol abuse.”

A very recent 2012 article in the Journal of Psychopharmacology stated,

“Numerous clinical investigators have claimed that treating alcoholics with individual doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), in combination with psychosocial interventions, can help to prevent a relapse of alcohol misuse, for example, by eliciting insights into behavioural patterns and generating motivation to build a meaningful sober lifestyle.”

This report concluded,

“… a single dose of LSD had a significant beneficial effect on alcohol misuse.”

A 2009 study in the Harm Reduction Journal conducted at the Berkeley Patients Group, a leading medical cannabis dispensary in Berkeley, California, found that

“research on medical cannabis patients has alluded to the use of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs.”

This report concluded,

“substitution might be a viable alternative to abstinence for those who are not able, or do not wish to stop using psychoactive substances completely.”

Unfortunately, all of these substances are banned in the United as Schedule I drugs. Further, the U.S. Attorney for Northern California has just forced the Berkeley Patients Group to close.

These Facts and others like them can be found in the Drug War Facts Chapters for Ibogaine, Enthogens and Medical Marijuana at