As we have found ourselves in a national crisis over the opioid addiction over the last few years, there have been many exposés on the harrowing journeys people go through as they navigate addiction and try to recover. Obviously, this has been a losing battle for way too many people, especially as the drug landscape changes with substances like fentanyl being more widely introduced.
Dosed brings us the story of Adrianne (only her first name is revealed), a heroin addict living in Vancouver, Canada. She has been struggling with heroin addiction for a long time – she mentions that she’s been an addict for 20 years, but I’m never really sure about that time frame. She uses daily and calls herself a trashcan addict because she’ll use anything she can get her hands on. Her friend, director Tyler Chandler, walks us through her story.
As someone who is at the end of her rope, Adrianne decides to try psilocybin as a way to stave off her opioid cravings and possibly set her on the road to full recovery. Chandler captures her “trip” on film and it looks like it has some promise. The problem is psychedelics, like all medicinal treatments, need to be supervised by a professional. As a prescribed methadone patient in addition to using street drugs, her situation is more dire than most.
This leads them to a team of people using iboga, a hallucinogen that comes from a root of plant that is grown in Gabon, Africa, and has been used in rituals there for hundreds of years. Iboga can be deadly if used improperly and not under proper supervision, so Adrianne has to submit to their rules and practices in order to take that journey.
This film is a really up close and very personal look at addiction. Chandler and Adrianne have known each other for years and you can see that relationship play out throughout the film. This snapshot is clearly not the norm of what an addict goes through to get clean. Adrianne has privilege where most do not – she has two parents who are engaged in helping her get clean, she clearly has the money not only to buy street drugs every day (there is a scene that shows her stash of empty heroin packets that number in the hundreds or even thousands) but also to go to the iboga treatment center for multiple weeks which is quite posh. While we get to see some of the horrors of what an addict goes through to get clean, Chandler shies away from showing the really hard stuff like the withdrawals and the psychological reckoning that comes with understanding why one is an addict. He dances around these, lightly touching on them, but there is no visceral depiction that might land harder. So in this sense, the viewer doesn’t get crucial access to Adrianne‘s story which is needed to fill out the whole picture.
However, the film does present a compelling case for the use of psychedelics in the treatment of addiction. It states that psychedelics are 10 times more effective in weaning people off of opioids than traditional pharmaceutical measures. As the planet struggles to deal with the opioid crisis, all measures should be on the table to combat it. The problem is that most countries across the globe have banned the use of psilocybin and iboga, so the full potential of its healing power has yet to really be explored. It’s something worth considering quite heavily after watching Adrianne‘s quest for sobriety.
This film was supposed to open in theaters today, but due to the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent shuttering of theaters across the country. However, this film is now available to be viewed online through Vimeo at the following link starting at 7 pm.
In addition, he filmmakers have pledged to give 10% of each purchase, matched by Facebook, for a total of 20% towards coronavirus disaster relief. While this isn’t the easiest film to watch during a time when so many of us are feeling unsure about the global situation right now, it has a message that is worth hearing. As one problem grips the world today, it’s important to not forget that there are other issues that are costing people their lives as well.
Here’s the trailer:
I hope you are all staying safe, being smart about social distancing and being compassionate to your neighbors. Much love to you all from us here at Reel News Daily!