The abuse and misuse of psychedelic substances locally

This site was contacted by a psychologist who is becoming extremely worried about the rise in the number of clients she is witnessing in her clinic, who all have a common factor: they all started suffering emotional and mental distress due to being exposed to psychedelic medicine in retreats done locally.

On discussing the matter further, we both agreed on the same concerns which I will put in writing here.

“Since the termination of a period of research from the 1950s to the early 1970s, most psychedelic substances have been classified as ‘drugs of abuse’ with no recognized medical value.” But now, new, emerging medical studies done in controlled clinical studies, are giving credit to the beneficial effects that these might have on treating illnesses such as addiction, depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The concerns of how they are being used locally are varied. The first concern is that they are being used in an unsupervised, therapeutical context and I am not only referring to the so-called shamans who organise such retreats. These retreats should staff themselves with various professionals, including psychologists, to assist those who will make use of the substances.

Secondly, we cannot deny that many people have had healing, life-changing experiences with such substances which helped them change any addiction or any unhealthy pattern which they wanted to get rid of. But, we also cannot deny that such substances are being abused and misused because they are being sold by the novices who run these retreats as ‘the path to enlightenment’ to serve as their marketing tool to gain easy money. It is noteworthy to note that these retreats, which last a few days [generally three], are costly. This site has contacted the organisers of two retreats which use the same medicine and was given the sum of €500 for three nights. The maximum amount of attendees is that of 10. On asking someone who once attended, I was told that in the past they used to be even 25. The sum includes accommodation and food. It is a pity that these organisers sell themselves as ‘enlightened masters’ whom the author Jeff Brown calls the ‘New Cagers’. It is also a shame that society is selling the lie to people that evolvement is quick, because it preys on the desperate longing that people have to evolve.

Thirdly, these substances are being used to bypass spirituality and healing from traumas or any other emotional pain which is burdening the soul and spirit. The quick fix. Bypassing means that emotional material is being swept under the rug but which will resurface and will flood the inner core stronger than before. The best way to walk the spiritual and healing path is to do a lot of inner work, not only alone but also with the help of somatic, or body-based psychotherapies because these are about doing deep emotional healing within the body itself. However, one has to be truly ready to open the can before stepping into this kind of work. It could be that one is not comfortable doing such kind of therapy. So, whatever the reason, one can opt to do talk therapy with a professional therapist who truly resonates with you and who can properly implement ground work and safety practices while handling you with care, during your profound, transformative work. If on the other hand, one is going to choose the quick fix bypass through these substances, when the rush that these substances give on a subconscious level fades, traumas come back to haunt.

Fourthly, no one knows what the ingredients of these psychedelic substances are, especially any additives. They are being imported and thus, one cannot have the guarantee that they are 100% safe, even though, the source of import might have a certificate of guarantee.

Lastly, the plants which produce these psychedelic substances are native to a particular place and, in my opinion, they should be used by the natives of that place. I am sure that Malta had, long ago, some kind of plants which would have benefitted the Maltese nation healthwise.

It is important for humanity to understand that healing is for a lifetime and that moving with one’s own integral pace is vital.

X (Formerly Twitter)