DOSED. Canada, 2019. Featuring Adrianne and medical and drug experts. Directed by Tyler Chandler. 82 minutes. Rated M (Mature themes, drug use and coarse language).

Opioid addiction seems to be one of the great crises of North America and other countries.

This is a Canadian documentary exploring the use of psychedelic drugs in the battle against opioid addiction. It takes a strong stands for the use of mushrooms and their effect to combat addictive needs.

While there has been a great deal of discussion about the use of these drugs, and the fact that they are illegal, makes this a speculative drama. However, while it does discuss the nature of opioids and prescriptions, addiction effects for so many people, the availability of mushrooms and psychedelic drugs, it focuses on one particular person, Adrianne, telling her story, filmed by her friends Tyler Chandler and Nicholas Meyers (the cinematographer).

We are introduced to Adrianne in the middle of her treatment. She is asked what her greatest desire would be – and she answers: to wake sober. Then the film goes back several months, discussions with Adrianne herself, her explanation of her past life, comfortable bringing up, sympathetic mother, influences on her drug-taking, growing addiction to heroin and other drugs. She admits her mental illness, at times contemplating suicide, her frequent desperation.

She agrees to go into the program of taking mushrooms, beginning with a strong dose of 2 grams, allowing the cameras on her at all stages, the director interviewing her about her feelings and experiences, a cumulative effect of improvement over several months. There are some explanations about the psychedelic drugs and their euphoric effect, the highs of experiencing calm, love, a better appreciation of the self.

There are quite a lot of experts interviewed, doctors, researchers, personal care agents, with an explanation of how the psychedelic drugs work in the brain, diagrams to illustrate what is happening to various parts of the brain and the consequences.

As is clear, from the making of the film, Adrianne improves considerably over the months. Ultimately, the film moves to a period a year after the beginning of the experiment, Adrianne enthusiastically endorsing her experience, getting a job in the wildlife profession, but also volunteering to help people in situations similar to those she experienced.

As with other films, especially some documentaries on the use of medicinal marijuana, the American Breaking Habits, the Australian Green Lights, the film offers thought-provoking material, questions the availability of drugs which have been declared illegal, inviting discussion on their effectiveness.


Released October 31st

Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.

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