Thank you for sharing this. It sounds SO much like what, unfortunately, I’ve heard goes on at some retreat centers and in other underground circles. The pattern of controlling and manipulative behavior by the perpetrator, and the unquestioning support of that behavior by people working under them.

I think it’s important for everyone in the psychedelic community (whether we’re here for healing, exploration or fun) to look to other self-organized communities for models of non-hierarchical safety and accountability. Legalization, taxation and regulation is only one pathway to access, and the fact is, some people are always going to do this work “underground” or in countries without legal protections for victims.

I think it’s important to ask how we can help educate more people coming into the field on holding themselves accountable when in a position of power, and keeping themselves and their community safe when they are attending or supporting practitioners?

Expand full comment

Jules, you're such a kick-ass reporter. Your careful documentation and verification while weaving in riveting narrative is exactly what this emerging field needs. Thank you!

As in any other profession, an ethics and best practices framework will keep honest people honest. As practitioners, journalists and harm reduction advocates, we need to educate people (I loathe the word "consumers") who are seeking these services. What you cover on a regular basis is the reason we want to make "caveat emptor / buyer beware" an imperative in our discussions around this.

I know when people are desperate to feel emotionally better, someone who peddles "I can do this for you!" sounds mighty seductive. Combine that vulnerability with the boundary loosening/dissolving of these substances and it becomes the perfect set-up for predators to find easy pickins. Caveat emptor

Expand full comment