LSD for alcoholism (BBC World News TV Interview)

Uploaded by BjarturEysteinnArmel on 10.03.2012

One of the major social changes brought about by the sixties was the use of illicit drugs
especially marijuana and LSD. [music]
There you go. Psychedelia became linked with the counter-culture movement, youth rebellion,
rock and roll, and hallucinogenic drugs. Now researchers at a Norwegian university
have looked back at early medical trials of LSD and found evidence it could be used
to treat alcoholism. Let's get more details.
We are joined from Trondheim, Norway by Teri Krebs, who co-authored the study, a researcher
at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Welcome to BBC World News. >> Hi, good to talk with you.
>> How could LSD help with the treatment of the alcoholism? What is it in LSD that could
help? >> Well, let me tell you what we did in the
study. We looked for all of the well-designed randomized
controlled trials of LSD for alcoholism. We found six trials, 536 patients. Each patient
either got LSD or a control treatment. When we pool all the data together, there is a
clear, consistent effect on alcohol misuse and on abstinence, and the beneficial effect
was lasting six months or more after a single dose of
LSD, within an alcoholism treatment program. >> So wasn't that in fact it was a risk of
them becoming addicted to LSD in the process because it was almost like a substitute
for alcohol? >> No, LSD is not considered an addictive
drug. Addictive drugs like alcohol and heroin tend to help you get away from your problems,
they reduce anxiety. LSD is reported to make your problems more apparent and to sometimes
increase anxiety. And it is helping people think about their problems, to have a new
perspective, and to try to find new patterns of behavior, and new insights. And
what was reported in clinical trials was patients found more motivation to participate in alcoholism
treatment programs and that they found more insights into why they keep returning to alcohol
>> But I understand this was being said in the fifties and sixties. Why wasn't this advice
heeded and taken up seriously then? >> It seems that the trials were misinterpreted.
Some of the trials by themselves had too few patients to really make a conclusive answer.
So what people have been saying is, oh, one or two trials, they showed an effect, but
the other trials were inconclusive, so altogether inconclusive. But when we combine
the trials together, using statistically rigorous methods, what you can see is all the trials
lineup, and there is clear and consistent beneficial effects of LSD. This is what alcoholism
treatment professionals were saying in the fifties and sixties. LSD
was actually considered a promising treatment for alcoholism long before it became known
as a recreational drug. >> Teri Krebs, thank you very much for talking
about the results of your very very interesting research, thank you.