The inside story about a state commission that wants to spend $42 million on a controversial psychedelic drug to treat opioid addiction—and the complicated reasons why.
When Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced this year that his office planned to take at least $42 million from state money and use it to fund corporate research for an experimental psychedelic addiction treatment, he caught many people off guard—including some of the officials tasked with allocating that money.
The proposal—to fund development for the alternative therapy ibogaine—and the continuing mystery of Cameron’s decision, immediately became a flashpoint in the state. Democrats and addiction specialists are particularly puzzled why Cameron and his allies are so insistent on studying ibogaine—an obscure, unproven, and possibly “perilous” plant-based treatment that makes you violently ill and whose advocates include military veterans, Melissa Etheridge, Lamar Odom, and the original Wolf of Wall Street.
The $42 million grant is due to come out of the state’s landmark $842 million settlement that Kentucky won last year from opioid manufacturers, after their addictive products precipitated hundreds of thousands of opioid deaths in America.
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