Thursday June 28, 2012 AT 8:00 PM on CBC-TV
Thursday July 5 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC News Network
The Jungle Prescription is the tale of two doctors treating their addicted patients with a mysterious Amazonian medicine rumored to reveal one’s deepest self. Dr. Gabor Maté has a revolutionary idea: to treat addicts with compassion. His work as the resident doctor in Vancouver’s Portland Hotel - a last-chance destination for lifelong drug abusers - has been courageous, but incredibly frustrating. Maté hears of an ancient medicine beyond his imaginings: one that could provide his patients with a solution. Its name is ayahuasca: the vine of the souls. Deep in the Amazon jungle, French doctor Jacques Mabit is using this medicine to treat hardcore addicts. Mabit runs a detox centre in the Amazon (Takiwasi or "The House That Sings"), using the plants and methods of traditional medicine. Ayahuasca is a visionary formula that unlocks emotional memory; causing life-changing catharsis in those who drink it. The reported success rates for curing addicts at Dr. Mabit's detox centre are quadruple the average.
Dr Mate returns to Canada with a plan to work with a group of healers to treat patients struggling with various types of addiction. At these sessions they will serve ayahuasca: the acrid tea that occupies a grey area of Canadian law. But without a detox centre or support structure for his patients, will it work?
Since the publication of his award-winning book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Dr. Gabor Mate has been one of Canada’s leading thinkers on addiction and its deeper causes. The experience of making the film has had a profound impact on him: “As a physician all too aware of the limitations and narrowness of Western medicine, I have learned much from working with this plant. The Jungle Prescription took me far physically, but even further in the spiritual realm where our deepest humanity resides. The plant, and the experience with the plant, is no panacea. There are no panaceas. But as an opening to human possibility, even in the face of lifelong trauma and desperation, it offers much. Seeing people open to themselves, even temporarily, has been a teaching and an inspiration.”
The Jungle Prescription is produced by Mark Johnston, Mark Ellam, Amanda Handy, Robin McKenna and Jeronimo Mazarrasa for Nomad Films Inc.