- Project New Day is a non-profit organization that seeks to help people overcome addiction, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder through the responsible and legal use of psychedelic treatments
- It’s also focusing on getting funds for studies and working on raising awareness about psychedelic research
- Project New Day’s Co-Founder and Director Allison Feduccia speaks to Truffle Report about addiction, psychedelics, and New Day Project’s mission
Project New Day was founded in 2019 by Mike Sinyard, CEO of Specialized Bicycles, and leading research scientist, Allison Feduccia, Ph.D., to boost the efforts of advocates for alternative mental health therapies in the treatment of substance use disorder.
“Mike became aware of the research that’s going on with psychedelics. He had people close to him that had suffered from addiction and he saw how the conventional treatments weren’t very helpful for them. He got interested in what’s going on in the psychedelic medicine field and wanted to start a foundation so that when these treatments become available, more people will be able to access them and also have other types of supportive care for long term recovery,” said Feduccia.
Prior to becoming Director and Co-founder of Project New Day, Dr. Feduccia had worked on addiction research and the MDMA clinical trials for PTSD with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) from 2015 to 2020. She has been studying therapeutic uses of MDMA since 2004.
“For addiction recovery, it’s typically a process people go through, changing their relationship to substances. Having extra support from peers and the community can bolster the effects of treatment programs, and we think that this will be a key part of psychedelic treatments. Community care and long term support is something that we’re interested in funding and looking into programs that can help support people through a longer process with psychedelic treatments,” said Dr. Feduccia.
Psychedelics as Addiction Treatment
“Some people may look at it and say, ‘Oh, you know, using a drug to treat another drug problem could be an issue.’ There are medications that are FDA-approved for treating addictions. We see that psychedelics are just another type of medication that could be used for certain conditions. Given that most of them have an as much lower risk for dependence and misuse, the potential benefit could outweigh the potential risk of having people undergo psychedelic therapies. They’re not going to be taken every day as a lot of medications, and the side effects are limited in comparison to chronic medication use,” explained Dr. Feduccia.
“It does seem like a novel way to work with people that are on a path to recovery. A key part of this work is providing a lot of education around the right relationship with substances, and how psychedelics can be used as a treatment and not as a way of escaping problems or numbing emotions. This type of thing can happen sometimes with drug use, if people are psychologically just feeling down and out. They may turn to drugs and alcohol to ease emotional pain and suffering, and the pandemic is only raising that number,” she said.
Project New Day’s Focus
“The focus of the foundation is on using psychedelics for the treatment of addiction. We see that these treatments are going to be expensive, and the amount of care that’s needed over time isn’t something that can be very accessible for people that have these disorders. We’re looking at ways that we can help to advocate and raise awareness around this path of possible treatment and then as they become legally available in the U.S., to help people be able to access treatments and information about them,” explained Dr. Feduccia.
“What we know from our clinical research trials is that psychedelics are a unique class of drugs. They have less risk of dependence and problematic use compared to other substances like alcohol, cocaine, or opioids. We do feel that people should seek out psychedelics as part of a comprehensive treatment that can be a catalyst for resolving psychological issues and a motivating force to change problematic behaviors. Reviewing life from a different perspective and with different insights can help a person move past the problem of whatever it is that’s driving the repetitive and addictive behaviours,” continued Dr. Feduccia.
“Project New Day is about advocating and funding clinical research studies, learning more about what happens in the brain when people take psychedelics for recovery as well as how the potential long-term benefits can be bolstered by community support and therapeutic care and services that are open-minded towards people that are using psychedelics as part of this path. It’s about education and community support which we advance through our sister organization, Psychedelic.Support,” she said.
Project New Day participates in the wider decriminalization effort and expects psychedelics to spread across the United States. It’s also focused on acquiring funds for studies and working on raising awareness about psychedelic research.
“Project New Day may start a center where people can come and stay long term, or we may find other clinics or retreat centers that are using psychedelic therapies, in a very mindful way with a holistic program for people that are struggling with addiction. That’s what we hope to do with the coming years,” said Dr. Feduccia.
“Right now, we’re focused on this community support piece. We’ve been working on some training and toolkits for people who want to lead peer support groups for folks using psychedelics on their own or going to retreat centers, and then looking for a supportive network of people to integrate the experiences with. Community support groups are well established to help with depression, reduce feelings of isolation, and keep people on target with where they’re heading and their recovery process. We’re now working more on this piece after doing a community needs assessment and looking at what the options will be over the years, as the treatments become available,” she explained.
“We are looking at several universities’ studies that we want to support. We’re also looking at what’s going on in Oregon to see if we might be able to fund some treatments there when that rolls out in a couple of years. As part of the advocacy work, we’re sponsoring video interviews with people who have had psychedelic experiences and want to share their experience and path in recovery. These personal stories and research outcomes will help raise awareness around psychedelic treatments for addiction,” she said.