Report Back from “Breaking Convention VI”

Breaking Convention (BC) had its 6th Big Gathering at Exeter University in April 2023. I went along to see if there was any positive news about the healing of people in chronic pain, long term depressives, People Who Use Drugs daily (PWUDs), aka ‘addicts’ and so on. And to see old friends of course: Hattie Wells, David Luke and Giulio, all of whom had serious work-roles at this event, including presenting as well as administrating the hundreds of us delegates from all over the world. It was a big Deal! I should mention that it took me all day to get there from London in a small Electric Car, so I was shattered on arrival on the evening of the 1st day, and as one living in chronic pain+ it remained that way throughout the weekend, so If you read something here that is inaccurate PLEASE feel free to WRITE TO OUR SITE-BLOG & Correct.

Nikki Wyrd, conference Director, welcomes the 1300+ Delegates /Thanks to Alexander Irvine for the great photograph


There was a couple, as in beloveds, of successful young Indians, one a student physician and the other a computer programmer and designer. I spent hours with them and was really interested to hear how excited they are about healing Psychedelic Substances (PSs) and it made me think about how much the world is changing but still, within the draconian Prohibitionist system.

I met Jonathan Ott again, who spoke at the end of the first day. He was presenting a paper about the different words Albert Hoffman, Huxley and other notable Psychonauts have used to describe PSs. It all went a bit like this… In 1963, there was much discussion about what to call PSs, e.g should it be Psychomimetic, as in LSD experiences sometimes mimic psychosis, or should it be psycho social mimetic, or even Psychedelic, which is what most use these days. And Otts favourite word for these extraordinary substances is Psychoptic, referring to what we see on these drugs that we surely would not normally!

Of course that is both internally as in what can happen often, with the use of Ibogaine for addiction treatment as well as in the external world around us. For Ott, “God-Breathing is what Psychedelic really means: Eons ago, I was told that Psychedelic literally (as in direct Greek Translation) means like an opening of the spirit, yes soul revealing which takes this to the place that Ott refers to often and amiably:something to do with the Divine. And there were many references to this notion at “Breaking Convention” that is the question of whether PSs can connect us to other entities in time and space, and spiritual dimensions (if you will). Much better than Cyberspace, at any rate, in my not-so-humble opinion! But, I just found myself wanting to believe that til Dr Sessa spoke the next day and clarified for me, what I actually think/believe in my heart, which is that everything we experience through our five senses, while on PSs are neuro-transmitter substances firing off in the brain because of the radical chemical changes going on in there after taking psychedelic medicines

Why do I feel like I have just blasphemed?!

Psychologists, Ralph Metzner and Timothy Leary started the Psychedelic Review (PsyR)in 1963, a serious academic journal, which really began to document science and the PS domain. In Ott’s opinion Leary was a good charismatic person but not so much a scientist! The PsyR is now known as the Journal of Psychoactive Medicines

I heard Ben Sessa speak for the third time, and somehow always feel reassured when he mentions his long work history with PWUIDs every day, children and adolescents, at the beginning of all his talks. He is about to leave England for Australia where he has a new post training a workforce to be Psychedelic Therapists, in a country that is the first ‘to approve the use of MDMA (aka Ecstasy) & Psilocybin for the treatment of Mental Illness, legally. Great News for Oz… You may already be familiar with the term Neuroplasticity, which in lay-folks terms critically means that brain activity can be changed, and for Sessa, the word disruptor aptly describes how PDs can positively alter the thinking of depressives say, who have become stuck in unhelpful (to themselves) ways of thinking. Many of them, for decades – literally. During his many years in child and adolescent psychiatry, he often came across children who were neglected or abused, and later suffered with addiction and other MH conditions, so he is super-enthusiastic to find himself in the middle of what David Nutt refers to as the “biggest advance in psychiatric treatment for 50 years.” Established old school psychiatrists are still saying “we shall have to see what the Long Term Results” will be but as Rick Doblin pointed out, with the increase of people living with MH issues, traumatised by ongoing wars around the world and poverty, it is a good idea for people who are suffering to have more options.

On the last morning, I met a Dutch Buddhist Chaplain, Daan Keiman who worked at the Synthesis Institute, which had to close recently. He was well-impressed by the fact that I put the needles down eons ago! And his presentation at BC6 was to remind practitioners that change can sometimes happen at a snails pace, and that we have to be patient:

In the UK, the only downside of all this that I can see so far is that most of the treatment is only available to people who can afford £5k upwards, OR just like all other treatment research protocols, one must get on the waiting list and who knows when they will be seen? Moreover, there seems to be a lack of PD treatment for people living with ‘addiction’ and for us at the Usersvoice, that is distressing. PD treatmenters are making the same demands of active PWUDs, as is made if you wish to go to rehab. You have to come off all opiates, and SSRIs in order to be accepted onto a research protocol People must be off all opiates and /or SSRIs before they can get say Ketamine. And the Ketamine protocol only includes alcoholics at this point (May 2023)

Maybe what we need is a space to go, whether it be mutual AID based or residential, where the detox can happen first. At the moment, that seems to be our best bet. And happy to announce that one of my galfriends is currently detoxing in an NHS hospital bed. So the therapeutic possibilities still exist. At this point in the History of these new psychedelic therapies, I cannot see how it would or could be any other way, unless you can do a Home Detox, with/without the support of a local drug agency or 12step Group.

That said, becoming drug free is hard work as most of us here know. In the Borough I live in 6000 patients will need to be somehow cared for since the Margaret Centre and Response Drug Project are being closed down as we speak. It is worrying for the community and the patients as to whether “Change Grow Live/CGL will be able to embrace all those patients who will lose their treatment slots.

I met other people in MH recovery at the BC Event in Exeter. They knew that, for example, there were light shows and all sorts of wonderful things to reduce stress, that I didn’t know about. If any of us go to BC in the future, I want to strongly suggest that we study the program closely before arriving, as opposed to what I did; straight into an academic lecture and then swatting til the last day!

To end on a positive note, Ibogaine is being researched in healthy participants/recreational PWUDs by company Demerex. More importantly a research protocol was begun for daily-PWUDs , but it has been paused. The vice-chair of Breaking Convention hastened to add, we are hoping to return to it asa possible. It is currently an illegal drug, that is if you intend to supply it to someone else. But a recent nod from the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been given. In other words, there will be a return to testing it on daily PWUDs …as in people who have a drug problem with addiction.

Notes: “to start enrolment for a Phase 1/IIa trial of Ibogaine HCL (DMX-1002) in the treatment of Opioid Use. See the following link for more details. “

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: video game | Thanks to search engine optimization and seo agency