The way forward in the battle against addiction

The Holistic Sanctuary Founder Johnny Tabaie at his innovative drug rehab center


For decades, the war on drugs has been an integral part of conversation in America. It stretches from casual dinner table chatter to serious debate in legislative houses at both the state and federal level. It is an issue that affects millions of households on a daily basis. As one of the leaders in the global war on drugs, the American government has portrayed itself as a strong opponent to drug use and trafficking. Its strong stance, for many years had become the norm in the western world when it came to the political approach to drug use. Only today, we can see more countries digressing from the hard line stance set as a mandate. Other countries might choose to pick an even harder position against drugs while some might see benefit from choosing a more liberal approach.

Still, in America the drug menace is very real. The statistics speak for themselves. There is no debating them. According to the US Center for disease control, 91 people die every day from opioid overdose in America and in the fifteen years from 2000 to 2015 over half a million Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses. These issues are a fraction of the social impact drug addiction causes in the fabric of society. It is almost impossible to express the pain and suffering the addictions cause to the mental health of families across the country.

The state has deployed considerable resources to try and stem the flow of drugs into the country but inevitably the supply remains constant. An area where questions could be asked is the success the country has seen when it comes to treating those already suffering from addiction to opioids and other dangerous drugs. While the government is constantly trying to come up with new solutions, it is safe to say, rehab centers have not seen much success. When it comes to treating and curing addiction, both state run and private centers do not have a success rate that merits any accolades.

Even with the poor results, there seems to be a general reluctance to change. Large systems and machinery are not very nimble and there is a lot of reluctance when it comes to experimenting with alternative solutions to the problem. Whether or not they go on to become the norm, there is inertia even when it comes to legislature that would make it easier for such organizations to provide people with an alternative to conventional rehab centers.

Recently ayahuasca retreats and ibogaine treatment centers have shown some promise. Facilities such as The Holistic Sanctuary, set up by founder Johnny Tabaie, claim a success rate far superior to most drug rehab centers in the country. Tabaie or Johnny the Healer as he is affectionately called by those grateful for his help in overcoming their own addiction, has developed his own method to battle addiction.

Stemming from his own battles with addiction and painful personal loss, the Pouyan method he has created, approaches addiction differently from conventional medicine. He believes in using plant based remedies over powerful pharmaceutical drugs.  

His remedies are accompanied by healthy food, plenty of refreshing activities and a stimulating environment. The idea is to heal the mind instead of beating it into submission. His facility, situated on the beautiful Mexican coastline claims to have seen success with PTSD, addiction, depression alcoholism and even eating disorders.

The alternate medicine movement, in the recent past has been picking up momentum across America. It comes as no surprise to see its effects reaching into the sphere of drug rehabilitation. It is only a natural progression. 

There will always be debate as to its merits but to the families of those people dealing with addiction, such organizations provide an option. Yes, their methods have not undergone the rigorous testing other medical procedures face, but those that have faith in the process swear by it. So much so that when it is literally a matter of life and death, they choose to commit to it.

When studies show that medical error is the third leading cause of deaths in the United States, it only strengthens the case to explore other options. It might be too early to call the alternative solutions the norm or even consider them more or less effective. What can not be denied however is the need for the healthcare system to be more effective when it comes to dealing with the crisis. To a family that is putting their loved one’s life in the hands of an institution, all that matters is for their loved one to return healthy and free of addiction. Whether the solution is allopathy or any alternative to it, it is about time we began to look at them objectively. We need to know what our best weapons are if we are going to win the war against drug addiction. A war we are currently losing.  

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