Trip on the Dark Side Drugs & Mental Health podcast

The world of drugs is large and veiled by taboos.

In the past 10 years, the almost universally negative notion given to the world of drugs was transformed. In what is known as the Psychedelic Renaissance, there has been a rise in research, studying the effect of psychedelics to treat depression and post traumatic stress disorders. Drugs like ketamine, taken in moderate doses and in controlled environments, as a form of treatment, show promising results for people struggling with mental health issues.

At the other side of the drug world spectrum, the consumers and the dealers purchase the same product, perhaps, with the same intent as the researchers – to try and treat any underlying mental health issues. But the difference is that the underground world of drugs is perceived as illicit, which means that all the transactions have to take place in an illegal, unsafe, and potentially dangerous shadow.

To better understand the paradoxical relationship between the illegal substances and their ability to treat mental health issues, we interviewed two people on completely different sides of the paradox:

On the one side, there is Matas Vitkauskas, a researcher at Yale-NUS, who studies the possibilities for treating depression through psychedelic-based therapy approaches.

On the other side, there is Steve (name changed), who has been dealing drugs of all kinds illegally from the age of 15 and has encountered various mental health problems along the way. But he also sees a lot of potential in using drugs as medication and the benefits of drugs for people who struggle with their mental health.

We want to thank Matas Vitkauskas and Steve for their insights and contributions to this film.

Noake, J. (2019). “Psychedelic renaissance: could MDMA help with PTSD, depression and anxiety?”, The Guardian.

Shroder, T. (2014). “Acid Test’: The case for using psychedelics to treat PTSD, depression””. The Washington Post.

Vitkauskas, M. and Mathuru, A.S. (2020). “Total Recall: Lateral Habenula and Psychedelics in the Study of Depression and Comorbid Brain Disorders”. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(18).

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