If you're taking psychedelic toad venom and ketamine are you "sober"?
Imagine how the media would react if this was a news story about Don Jr and Eric Trump.
President Joe Biden’s son Hunter tried everything to wean himself off alcohol and crack — from yoga and therapy to psychoactive drugs and the anesthetic ketamine.
But in his new memoir, he credits the secretions of the Sonoran Desert toad with keeping him sober for a year.
He describes how he traveled to Mexico in 2014, as his marriage was unraveling, in a desperate attempt to get his life back in order, using drug treatments that were not legal in the United States.
First, he was given ibogaine, a psychedelic derived from plants at a clinic in Tijuana, which he says created a flickering “slideshow” of his life.
Then, at a beach house, a nurse administered 5-MeO-DMT therapy using toad secretions, which are believed by its fans to ease depression, heal the scars of trauma, and cure addiction.
“It was a profound experience. It connected me in a vividly renewed way to everyone in my life, living or dead. Any division between me my Dad, my mommy, Caspy, or Beau vanished, or at least became irrelevant,” Biden writes in his book Beautiful Things, using a family nickname for his sister Naomi who died with his mother in 1972 after a car crash.
“It felt as though I was seeing all of existence at once – and as one,” he writes.
People who have used the drug compare its effects with that of a religious experience, leaving them feeling reborn.
Former world champion boxer Mike Tyson is among its fans. “It takes you to a place that takes you to another dimension,” he said on his podcast in 2019. “Ever since I did it, I’ve had a miraculous change about me.”
But it comes with warnings. Researchers say it can trigger extreme emotional reactions and vomiting.
In the U.S., it is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, carrying the threat of a 10-year prison sentence for possession.
Biden says the experience kept him clean for a year.
“I know it sounds loopy,” he writes. “Yet whatever else it did or didn’t do, the experience unlocked feelings and hurts I’d buried deep for too long. It served as a salve. ... I stayed sober for a year afterward.”
He broke down again after the subsequent death of his brother Beau, storming out of a couple’s therapy session with his then-wife Kathleen when she said she could not forgive him for what he had put their family through.
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 20: In this screenshot from the DNCC’s livestream of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, addresses the virtual convention on August 20, 2020. The convention, which was once expected to draw 50,000 people to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is now taking place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by DNCC via Getty Images) (Photo by Handout/DNCC via Getty Images)