This article was originally published on Microdose Psychedelic Insights, and appears here with permission.
Recent figures estimate that the abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs within the United States totals to over $1 trillion dollars a year in costs—and counting.1 Between the burden on the criminal justice system, medical costs, and losses in productivity, the American economy continues to take a rising annual hit from the consequences of drug and alcohol addiction. The current opioid epidemic gripping America has brought to light the way in which addiction can take a toll on society, and underscores the need of a more sustainable and effective solution for treating addiction. One of these solutions, the therapeutic and responsible use of psychedelics, is as radical as it is promising. Effective and lasting treatments for addiction have numerous benefits to society, and even avenues of treatment that are relatively novel or unorthodox are worth exploring. This guide aims to posit the incredible potential that psychedelic drugs have to effectively treat addiction, attenuate related social costs to the criminal justice and healthcare systems, and boost productivity, thereby easing the burden of addiction on society and making for a healthier, happier, and more prosperous world.
Estimating the True Cost of Drug & Alcohol Addiction to the Taxpayer & Society
Estimating the true cost of drug and alcohol addiction to society requires a multifaceted and nuanced approach, including the careful valuation of various tangible and intangible costs to both society and those addicted, along with those close to them. While the aforementioned dollar costs of addiction that are related to the criminal justice and healthcare sectors (both of which have their own deeply systemic flaws), along with losses in productivity, are tangible costs and account for the staggering amount of money spent every year, other costs, such as the human pain, harm, and suffering, are only vaguely measurable but worth mentioning as well. Illegal drug users and alcoholics also tend to die earlier than those who do not abuse drugs and alcohol. It can be expected that had these persons lived longer, they would have likely worked further to the benefit of society; thus, the number of productive working years lost due to prematurely deceased drug users and alcoholics is one way to base the estimation of the productivity that is potentially lost in the society.2 Now consider the possibility of psychedelic treatment, which not only promises radically effective success in treating the challenging elements of addiction—such as acute and post-acute withdrawal, cravings and depression—but also holds immense promise in boosting overall mood and productivity, and all within microdose ranges. While the thought of using drugs to treat drug and alcohol addiction may seem paradoxical at first, the scientific data and large amount of anecdotal reporting certainly supports moving in that direction.
Is Using Psychoactive Drugs to Treat Drug Addiction Fighting Fire with Fire?
While the notion of using drugs to treat drug addiction may seem counterintuitive, the medical establishment has been using Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, to treat drug and alcohol addiction for a very long time. Today, persons addicted to opioids, such as heroin, morphine, Oxycodone, and other opiates of …