Jon S. – NYU’s Double-Blind Trial of Psilocybin-Assisted Treatment of Alcohol Dependence

In this episode, Joe interviews Jon S. on his experience in the psilocybin-assisted trials for alcohol dependency at NYU. In the show, they dive into Jon’s background and how psilocybin assisted therapy helped him out of his alcohol dependence and into a new life.

3 Key Points:

  1. Jon participated in the NYU Double-Blind Trial of Psilocybin-Assisted Treatment of Alcohol Dependence.
  2. The study was double-blind. In each session, he didn’t know if he was going to receive psilocybin or Benadryl. 
  3. The sessions helped him so much with this dependence on alcohol, he believes he is a better father, husband, and human overall. He hasn’t had a drink in 5 months (or a desire to). 

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Show Notes

About Jon

  • He is based in New York
  • Jon is the father of 2 kids
  • He spent a lot of his life DJing, so he has spent a lot of time around alcohol
  • He found out about a psychedelic therapy study at NYU from someone at a Holotropic Breathwork Retreat
    • The study took place in New York City
  • He had always wanted to explore the psychedelic side of things
    • He read Michael Pollan’s book and it said in the book that the Holotropic Breathwork community would be a great group to help find a guide

The Trial

  • In his assessment, he found out truly how much he was drinking
    • He would crack a beer before even playing with his kids
    • He was into craft beer and at 8% a beer, his 3 beers were more like 5
  • He was asked to not have his sessions recorded so he could be as open as he could be
  • The session was very focused on curbing drinking
  • His wife knew he was going down the path of psychedelic healing
    • I’m not doing this to have a good time, I’m doing this to be a better person” – Jon
  • His trial was double-blind
    • He was never told when he was receiving the psilocybin at each session
    • He was told that he was either going to get 1 or 3 doses in the trial

The First Session

  • The first session with the eye shades on (on psilocybin), was very visual
  • In that first session he kept seeing this pirate ship underwater
    • His sons would say “come on daddy, lets play on the pirate ship”
    • He would go to the pirate ship with his sons and then say “I need to go back down and do some work”, and he would swim back into the depths
  • He came home that day, and his youngest son greeted him at the door, and said let’s play power rangers, I’ll be the red power ranger and you be the pirate
  • It hit him in a float tank session, the message of that session was to play with his sons more
  • He had a moment in his first session of rebirth


  • There is a 2 hour integration session the very next day
    • He didn’t think it was going to be as important as it turned out to be
  • He had the choice to keep it at the same dose or up it
    • He upped the dose to 40mg instead of 25mg
  • He was told his second session wouldn’t be anything like his first
  • The medicine was so intense the second time, he couldn’t even remember the music
  • In his second session, he saw a body being chopped up (realizing it was his body)
    • He realized that he was one with the universe, love is the only thing that matters
    • He wanted to be a part of everything
  • He was compensated about $100 per session
    • When the university gives you financial compensation, you buy everyone in the ice cream shop ice cream” – Jon
  • Jon says he has a new baseline for anxiety
    • He never thought he had anxiety, but after his sessions, he found that he is way less anxious than he was, even though he really wasn’t
  • He didn’t have a desire to drink, he hasn’t had a drink in 5 months
  • He has never felt better or happier
  • He’s a much better dad, and husband

Life After the Experience

  • He is re-reading Aldous Huxley and is finding a whole new meaning to it all
  • He is spending more time with his family and being present with the
    • He spends a ton of time with his kids now
  • Stuff that used to worry him, doesn’t worry him anymore
  • His experience was everything he hoped for and more
  • He genuinely believes, that whatever he got out of a session, is what he needed

Final Thoughts

  • He is talking to the Decrim Nature in NY
  • He appreciates the platform (Psychedelics Today) for the space to talk about his experience
  • He appreciates everyone at NYU for the work they are doing 
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