Editorial Contest Winner | ‘A Psychedelic Cure?’


我们每天发表一篇文章,以表彰第四届年度学生社论大赛的前 10 名获奖者。

下面是里根·布里尔(Reagan Briere)16岁的一篇文章。

A Psychedelic Cure?

A South African crack cocaine addict walks into a clinic, disoriented and anxious. Thousands of miles away, in the sunlit suburbs of San Francisco, an author, mother of four, and former defense attorney reclines on a couch, preparing for what promises to be a change in perception. In New York City, a recent college graduate returns from an abridged European vacation to search for an answer to an impossible problem. Worlds away, the only factor that seems to unite these three individuals is a search — but for what?

All three — Thillen Naidoo, the author Ayelet Waldman, and Octavian Mihai — were dosed with a hallucinogenic drug as a last resort when cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and other traditional remedies failed to alleviate their illnesses. All met with resounding success. Today, most classical hallucinogens are still heavily stigmatized due to their Schedule I status. However, recent evidence has begun to support the idea that the potential of hallucinogens to treat psychological disorders must be explored and legitimized.

Clinical trials at Johns Hopkins, N.Y.U., and other institutions have begun to illustrate the potential of hallucinogens to minimize the effects of depression, to help longtime smokers quit, to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, and more. Many of these studies met with success rates of 80 percent or above when dealing with treatment-resistant patients. Tentative evidence has also begun to surface relating to the use of LSD “microdosing” to treat mood disorders and ibogaine to treat narcotics addictions.

Hallucinogenic drugs are unlikely to be employed as first resorts in the near future. However, the fact that over half of depression patients do not fully recover with an antidepressant medication and that anti-addiction drugs such as Chantix have success rates of less than 40 percent suggests that any potential solution to the world’s battle with mental illness and addiction is sorely needed.

Some argue that the risks of hallucinogen use are too great to warrant their exploration as treatments for psychological disorders. However, hallucinogens do not have the same potential for addiction as alcohol, nicotine and opioids. In addition, hallucinogen persisting perception disorder — colloquially known as “flashbacks” — occurs in far lower frequencies than was originally thought in the 1970s and 1980s and is unlikely to occur in patients who take controlled doses of the hallucinogens in clinical settings.

Indeed, hallucinogens may be far safer than originally thought — not only physiologically, but also in the sense that their potential to treat high-risk disorders could save thousands of lives lost due to suicide, smoking-related cancers and overdoses each year.

Certainly, hallucinogens are no panacea. However, if their applications as treatments for psychological disorders are properly explored and their Schedule I status challenged, hallucinogenic drugs may prove to be the 21st century’s next medical breakthrough.

Works Cited

Al-Harbi, Khalid S. “Treatment-Resistant Depression: Therapeutic Trends, Challenges, and Future Directions.” Journal of Patient Preference and Adherence 6 (2012): 369-388. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. 23 Feb. 2017.

Hegarty, Stephanie. “Can a Hallucinogen from Africa Cure Addiction?” BBC News. The BBC, 3 Apr. 2012.

Hoffman, Jan. “A Dose of a Hallucinogen From a ‘Magic Mushroom,’ and Then Lasting Peace.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 1 Dec. 2017. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Mithoefer, Michael C., et al. “The Safety and Efficacy of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine-Assisted Psychotherapy in Subjects With Chronic, Treatment-Resistant Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: The First Randomized Controlled Pilot Study.” Journal of Psychopharmacology 25.4 (2012): 439-452. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.

Phillip, Abby. “Hallucinogen in ‘Magic Mushrooms’ Might Have Helped Smokers Quit.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Santella, Thomas. Understanding Drugs: Hallucinogens. New York: Chelsea House, 2012. Print.

Williams, Alex. “How LSD Saved One Woman’s Marriage.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 7 Jan. 2017. Web. 5 March 2017.