Addiction/Substance Abuse

Blending Traditions – Using Indigenous Medicinal Knowledge to Treat Drug Addiction

Jacques Mabit, M.D.
Ancestral medical practices are based on a highly sophisticated practical knowledge and view the controlled induction of non-ordinary states of consciousness as potentially beneficial, even in the treatment of the modern phenomena of drug addiction. These ancestral practices stand in contrast to the clumsiness with which Western peoples induce altered states of consciousness. Drawing from his clinical experience in the High Peruvian Amazonian forest, the author describes the therapeutic benefits of the wise use of medicinal plants, including non-addictive psychoactive preparations, such as the well-known Ayahuasca tea. Within an institutional structure, a therapeutic system combining indigenous practices with contemporary psychotherapy yields highly encouraging results (positive in 2/3 of the patients). This invites us to reconsider conventional approaches to drug addiction and the role of the individual’s spiritual journey in recovery.