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Review: Addiction documentary ‘Dosed’ takes a questionable road less traveled

Heroin addict Adrianne searches for a treatment that works in the documentary “Dosed.”
The addiction documentary “Dosed” follows Adrianne’s quest for a treatment that works.
(Golden Teacher Films)

“Dosed” works best as a purely anecdotal, personal chronicle of a friend’s struggle with addiction therapies. It is not recommended as a substitute for scientific conclusions.

The documentary, into which filmmaker Tyler Chandler liberally inserts himself, profiles a heroin addict he knows. Adrianne is well spoken, seemingly high-functioning and has a supportive family. She also relapses frequently and lies to protect her habit. Conventional methods for achieving sobriety have failed. With Chandler’s encouragement, Adrianne turns to experimental therapies — medicinal use of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and an African psychoactive root called iboga.

At times, filmmaker and subject have no statistical evidence or even medical supervision to back their methods. Some actions seem potentially dangerous. The most important part of the film does include supervision by professionals using iboga, a potentially promising therapy.

However, the film makes some bold claims about the effectiveness of this treatment without providing scientific support. One advocate claims, “It’s not a magical cure, but it’s the closest thing we have to it.” And the drug’s side effects, such as possible interference with heart functions, are glossed over. They may even have caused a serious incident in the film, but that’s unexplored.

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As a cinematic experience, “Dosed” is shot well enough, though the use of music is heavy-handed and the lack of journalistic scrutiny frustrating. A major thread is simply dropped at the end.

For many whose lives have been touched by addiction, any hope would likely be welcome. The recommendation here is to take the extremely subjective “Dosed” with a grain of salt.

‘Dosed’
Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Playing: Available March 20 at dosedmovie.com


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Trailer for the addiction documentary “Dosed.” NSFW (language).

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