The Opiate Epidemic and the Need for Psychedelic Medicine

In the wake of the most serious drug epidemic America has ever seen, the need for addiction treatment that works has never been greater. Opioid addiction (mainly prescription pills and heroin) has skyrocketed over the past decade. Heroin-related deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010. And while effective treatment for this deadly epidemic is now needed more than ever, traditional drug rehab programs only work a small percentage of the time. And it’s not just drug rehab that isn’t working. People seeking treatment for alcohol addiction in traditional rehab facilities are finding themselves returning time and time again. It’s estimated that 40-60 percent of people who attend rehab will relapse. And with most drug and alcohol rehabilitation based around the 12-step programs, many people are being left behind. There’s got to be another way. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and the 12-step principles around which this program is based, was founded way back in 1935. It has since become tightly woven into the foundation of traditional addiction treatment in the US. Of the countless treatment centers and rehabs available to treat drug and alcohol addiction, most are loosely based upon the ideals AA upholds. While statistics on the success rates of AA are hard to come by, there’s evidence that shows they are not very effective for long-term sobriety. And while most people think of AA as the one and only solution to addiction, they only believe this because it’s all they have really been exposed to. The problem is, we lack exposure to alternative methods. When people choose to get treatment for addiction, they’re obviously looking to end their addiction for good. No one wants to... read more

The New History of Psychedelic Medicine

Psychedelic medicine has made huge advances in the past decade. Psilocybin treats anxiety and depression, and MDMA is making amazing progress treating PTSD. Ayahuasca is something almost everyone’s heard of, and ibogaine’s becoming one of the most sought after addiction treatments. As we move steadily into the new millennium we’re starting to see a lot more people take notice of this. The Early History of Psychedelic Medicine Research on psychedelics isn’t anything new. Before the 1960s, psychedelics weren’t just studied, they were respected. LSD showed great promise in treating addiction and was studied for its efficacy against many different psychological disorders. Long before this, however, psychedelic plants were being used in various ritual ceremonies and among various native tribes around the world. There’s also strong evidence that cultural use of psychotropic plants has been happening for centuries. Peyote has been used ceremonially since 1000BC and is an integral part of Native American culture. Psilocybin is central to Aztec tribes. How long psychedelic mushrooms were used by them is unknown because Roman Catholic missionaries destroyed most records in Mexico. Rock paintings of mushrooms and temples dedicated to mushroom gods go back to 7000BC, however. The history of psychedelics is long. And if those stand behind the medicinal benefits they offer can continue to research these beneficial effects, their history is far from over. The “Recent” History of Psychedelic Medicine During the mid-20th century, chemists and other scientists started taking more interest in natural psychedelic substances and began to make new synthetic compounds that imitated what was found in nature. They then gave them to their friends. The very early days of... read more

Addiction After Injury: How Painkillers are Causing Heroin Addiction Copy

It’s no secret that there’s a heroin epidemic raging across the US. Addiction statistics are off the charts when it comes to heroin use, and it’s affecting practically every demographic there is. Those most at risk? Quite often it’s those who have suffered an injury who run the greatest possibility of becoming someone who’s hooked on heroin. How Can Painkillers Prescribed for an Injury Lead to Heroin Use? It all stem from the prescription pain medication prescribed after someone’s suffered an injury. This means that many who get hurt (from teen athletes injured in sports to someone who slipped and broke their ankle) are given painkillers to take until their symptoms improve. The thing is, most of these prescription pain pills hold high potential for addiction–and this addiction is what often leads to heroin use. Heroin offers similar effects to prescription meds. It feeds addiction almost exactly the same way as painkillers do, and does so at a fraction of the cost. Painkillers can be expensive (and difficult to attain) on the black market, and heroin’s something that’s cheap. Not only that, but it’s readily available pretty much everywhere. So, once the addiction sets in, many search for more pain medications. After being addicted to pain medication addicts seek a cheaper solution, which often leads to heroin use. Prescription Medication Causes Dependency Prescription painkillers are also known as opioids. They work by reducing the amount of pain signals that reach the brain while influencing certain areas in the brain that control emotion. And while they certainly do provide pain relief (and sometimes feeling of euphoria), they are also causing the biggest opioid epidemic... read more

Legal Status of Ibogaine Around the World

More and more people are taking Ibogaine as they discover its amazing benefits. Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance that is said to alleviate the physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Ibogaine is made from a root bark and the medicine has been used for thousands of years as a rite of passage in parts of Africa. In America, it’s been used in a secretive and illicit way since the 1960s for spiritual development and addiction treatment. Ibogaine is a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance under State and federal law. Due to legal restrictions of Ibogaine in the US, there hasn’t been the opportunity for much clinical research. Since ibogaine is illegal in the United States, American patients travel to foreign countries for treatment.  Ibogaine is legal but unregulated in Canada and Mexico. New Zealand, South Africa, and Brazil authorize the use of ibogaine by licensed medical practitioners and it is an approved medicine. Wendell Beitzel, a Maryland Republican Member of House of Delegates submitted a proposal to re-introduce a bill in the next General Assembly session to study ibogaine. Wendell’s wife, provided extensive research for the legislative approval. This bill would provide ibogaine treatment at participating health care facilities targeting opioid addicts who have not responded to conventional treatments, such as suboxone and methadone for opioid dependence. President Trump declared America’s opioid crisis a public health emergency.  According to Beitzel, Maryland drug and alcohol deaths are at an all-time high. Of all intoxication deaths 86% were opioid-related last year. Beitzel and his wife know from personal experience with their son, an opiate addict, that ibogaine healed him of... read more

ibogaine infographic

Treating addiction with ibogaine: a natural, scientifically proven approach. A team of researchers from the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry and the Yale School of Medicine conducted a retrospective survey on patients who completed Crossroads’ addiction treatment program. Data was collected over the course of 4 years on a sample of 101 patients. This survey has the largest sample size amongst all Ibogaine outcome studies, and the majority of patients were opioid-addicted individuals. Among opioid-addicted individuals in this survey: 86% of patients indicated that Ibogaine treatment was better than other addiction treatments they’ve tried in the past. 82% said Ibogaine was effective at interrupting their addiction. 81% reported withdrawal symptoms were eliminated or drastically reduced after one Ibogaine treatment. 62% of patients had a spiritually significant experience on Ibogaine. What is ibogaine? Ibogaine is known as the Addiction Interruptor. It is the primary active alkaloid in the Iboga bush which is native to West Central Africa. It is a potent entheogenic substance with a long history of medicinal and ceremonial use. More recently it has gained popularity for its success in treating addiction, particularly opioid addiction. Ibogaine is effective in interrupting addictions to a number of substances including heroin, opioid or narcotic pain medications, amphetamines, cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine. (Brown). How are mystical experiences occassioned by ibogaine therapeutic in reversing addiction? Ibogaine and other psychedelic plant medicines reliably induce mystical experiences that are often described as some of the peak spiritual experiences in a person’s life (Griffiths). Crossroads patients often report experiencing mystical states of oneness and transcendence of the self, a feeling of ego-death and rebirth, and... read more

A New Beginning At Crossroads Bahamas

Crossroads Treatment Center has joined forces with the Avante Institute to usher in a new era of ibogaine Treatment. Crossroads Treatment Center has established itself as the leading healthcare provider in addiction recovery using entheogenic plant therapies. During our 18 years in Tijuana, Mexico, we built an unmatched reputation for reliability, safety, and efficacy in ibogaine treatment. This summer we felt it was time for us to proactively reposition Crossroads into a region where our clients’ safety comes first. We are pleased to announce that we will continue to offer the very best in holistic addiction recovery by partnering with the Avante Institute, a premier ibogaine treatment center, designed to offer a blend of luxury, top-tier clinical standards and resort-style amenities in the therapeutic environment of the tropical Bahamas. The relocation of Crossroads to the Bahamas has allowed us to create what we believe is the most well-designed ibogaine program and treatment experience in the world. At Crossroads, we offer a team of experienced and compassionate professionals who help our patients overcome addiction with the safest, most effective ibogaine treatments available. Our offerings include a full on-site medical staff; pre-treatment screening; real-time medical monitoring during treatment; and comprehensive pre-care and aftercare programs. Meals, consisting of fresh-caught local seafood and locally-grown organic vegetables, are designed to help the body recover and stabilize, along with a dietary program of supplemental nutrients, electrolyte therapy, and amino acid vitamin and mineral blends. Patients also have access to yoga and meditation classes at the nearby Sivananda Ashram and the spa and fitness center at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. Patients receive their treatment surrounded... read more

How the Right Diet Can Help Aide in Addiction Recovery

  Whether you’ve just finished treatment or have been in recovery for a while, it’s important to know how much of an impact your diet can have during the process. What we eat literally has everything to do with how we feel. When it comes to the addict in recovery, a healthy diet can make a tremendous impact on the way they experience the recovery process. When a person is equipped with the knowledge of what to eat and why, serious change can occur in the way they feel both mentally and physically. Nature Offers Everything We Need to Heal Many addicts don’t realize the physical toll drug abuse takes on their body. From malnutrition and dehydration that’s common amongst most addicts, to more serious health problems such as liver damage and damage to the central nervous system, addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s physical health. Nature, however, gives us everything we need to heal. Aside from activities such as yoga and mindfulness, taking a holistic approach to addiction recovery involves eating nutritious foods and taking certain supplements. Holistic healing is far removed from the cigarettes and coffee so common at the corner AA meeting. Treating the body naturally begins with offering it everything it needs to repair and recover from the damage done during addiction. Knowing what foods to avoid, as well as what to eat for the best possible recovery, can help immensely in the way you feel and how much you enjoy your newfound sobriety. Foods to Avoid When Overcoming Addiction Sugar Sugar is a common substitute for drugs or alcohol for countless people in addiction... read more

Could Ketamine Be the Answer for Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction is the most widespread form of substance abuse disorders. Not only is alcohol legal, but it is typically encouraged as a way to relax and have a good time. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), there are over 15 million people in the US alone that abuse alcohol on a regular basis. And while there are countless rehab options to treat alcoholism, it’s widely known that traditional rehab doesn’t always work. The very programs that have been touted to tame the alcoholic mind for almost a hundred years (think AA and other 12-step programs) only come with a 5-10 percent success rate. And when it comes to something as important as overcoming an addiction to alcohol, the last thing anyone wants to be is a statistic. It’s reasons such as these that have countless people turning to alternative forms of treatment to overcome addictions to alcohol and other substances. Can Ketamine Help with Alcohol Addiction? Research is in the works that could help countless people suffering from alcoholism overcome their addiction for good. Some scientists are suggesting that ketamine (currently considered a recreational drug) could be an excellent aid in the treatment of alcohol addiction. Researchers at the University College of London (UCL) are testing whether or not ketamine can be effective in changing negative patterns of behavior associated with alcoholism by erasing the memories and triggers that lead to substance abuse and addiction. While results from these tests won’t be published for more than a year, researchers behind the study remain hopeful. The research that began in 2016 has showed promise... read more

Meditation and Addiction Recovery

With many people taking a holistic approach to treating addiction, meditation has become an integral aspect of many addiction recovery programs. Meditation has been used in Eastern cultures for years, and has recently found its way into Western culture as countless people turn toward more natural ways of taking care of their body and mind. And, while not considered a cure-all for those overcoming addiction, meditation is unprecedented at increasing self-awareness, combating stress and anxiety, decreasing negative emotional response, and helping increase connection. 5 Ways Meditation Helps in Addiction Recovery #1 – Lowers Stress Levels It’s no secret that stress leads to substance abuse. Anyone who has struggled with addiction is familiar with the immediate urge to use when hit with stressful situations. Whether it’s cigarettes, alcohol, heroin, cocaine, or food…when stress hits the addicted brain, the desire to numb it with a person’s drug of choice is clearly evident. A regular meditation practice can help relieve stress and invoke a sense of calm that permeates a person’s presence even when they aren’t meditating. Meditation works in harmony with the central nervous system, guiding a person out of “fight or flight” mode and into an oasis of increased calm and awareness. Meditating even five minutes a day can significantly reduce the stress that leads to compulsive drug or alcohol abuse. #2 – Increases Dopamine Levels Drugs and alcohol increase dopamine levels in the reward centers of the brain, part of which makes a person feel good when they’re high. When their drug of choice begins to wear off, however, dopamine levels plummet to levels lower than they were before using. This is what... read more

The Role of Environment in Addiction Recovery

Overcoming an addiction is one of the most difficult things a person will face in their lifetime. Addiction literally changes the way the brain functions and is all too often devastating for individuals and their families. Anyone who has beaten an addiction to drugs and alcohol knows that recovery is far from over when the addiction ends. Addiction affects each person differently. And while some people can easily get over an addiction, many struggle to get their life back on track after successfully quitting their drug of choice. For some, recovery is a lifelong process. For others, it many take months or years to fully recovery from an addiction. Environment plays a crucial role in overcoming addiction. The more comfortable and supportive a person’s environment, the better their chances of successfully sustaining their sobriety for good. A person who has just gotten over an addiction, whether through treatment or on their own, must contend with an entirely new reality. Without a proper structure and supportive environment, relapse can become a very unfortunate reality. Changing Your Environment Changing your environment can be an amazing help if you have recently overcome an addiction. Surrounding yourself with the people and places that remind you of your addiction can quickly lead to the triggers that ultimately lead you directly back to addiction. Changing your environment is a critical aspect of successfully staying sober and embracing this new life. 4 Tips to Change Your Environment While Recovering from Addiction #1 – Get Rid of Old “Friends” Chances are, the “friends” you used to hang out with when you were using weren’t really your friends... read more

The Connection Between ADHD and Addiction

Adult attention deficit disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that starts early in childhood and effects some 3 million Americans. When left untreated or undiagnosed, it can be carried into one’s adult life, leading to poor work performance, unstable relationships, difficulty concentrating, and impulsive behavior. Symptoms of ADHD Everyone will display ADHD differently. Some common symptoms of this often-frustrating mental condition include: Anxiety Becoming easily bored Difficulty concentrating Problems controlling anger/Violent outbursts Mood swings Problems at work Procrastination Low self-esteem Depression Relationship problems People experience ADHD differently and the symptoms people display won’t always be the same. Some people can manage their ADHD fine and not become affected, while others have increased difficulty in handling the way the disorder makes them feel. Some people that suffer from ADHD will have trouble concentrating on a task unless it’s something that interests them, while others will find it hard to focus on anything for a given length of time, no matter how interesting they think it is. One person might be antisocial and withdrawn, while the next loves being around people. Why are ADHD and Addiction So Closely Related? Adults with ADHD are more likely to become addicted to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and other substances. While the reason people with ADHD are more prone to addiction isn’t completely clear, there are certain characteristics of those that suffer from ADHD that are likely to lead to the progress of addiction. Research suggests that approximately 25 percent of adults who are treated for drug and alcohol addiction also have ADHD. Many believe that the impulsive behavior associated with ADHD is directly linked... read more

Antisocial Behavior and Addiction

There is a strong connection between antisocial tendencies and addiction. Not only are people who are antisocial more prone to addiction, but addiction can also lead to antisocial behavior. Social withdrawal is more common than many people realize. There are a lot of people who are “antisocial”, preferring to spend time alone than in the company of others. Those who spend increasing amounts of time alone, and prefer to be socially isolated, have often experienced traumatic events in their life that lead them to withdrawal from social situations and interaction with others. What is Social Isolation and Antisocial Behavior? While spending time alone is healthy, spending undue amounts of time alone isn’t. There’s a big difference between an introverted person (who enjoy their time alone and feel drained when spending too much time with others) and a person who isolates themselves socially. Social withdrawal in the form of isolation can lead to extreme cases of antisocial behavior. When a person socially isolates themselves, they might spend days alone at a time and avoid contact with others. Any interaction with others is most often fleeting and meaningless, with close relationships with friends and family tending to become nonexistent. Social isolation and antisocial behavior is quite often something that develops over time. A person doesn’t just decide to become antisocial one day. Once they do, however, this behavior tends to endure in a person for a long time. Antisocial behavior and social isolation are often a result of shame, depression, insecurity, social anxiety, and fear of abandonment. The very causes of antisocial behavior are extremely similar to the reasons people become... read more
The Crossroads Treatment Center is now the Crossroads Research Initiative, a single source compiling psychedelic research data, offering expert consultations, clinical guidance, case studies and best practices for integrative psychedelic medicine.