The social dislocation theory of addiction provides an important critique of the limitations of psychiatry’s definition of addiction a a chronic neurological disorder. Through an examination of historical and experimental evidence, it suggests that addictive use of drugs is a functional response to the alienation experienced in heavily dislocated societies, such as under the neoliberal model of capitalism. Without this analysis, there is a risk of pathologizing issues of fundamental human diversity and ignoring discourse around systemic oppression that may become embedded in addiction treatment strategies.
This analysis is relevant to the discourse around ibogaine, which has been demonstrated, over several decades, to be one of the most effective methods for easing difficult transitions off of opioids. The modern use of ibogaine in the treatment of addictions provides a case study into how models developed around this pathology paradigm can result in the harmful externalization of social and environmental costs. It also provides an important opportunity to discuss regenerative models that incorporate medical support to provide multiple levels of individual, social and environmental benefits.