E4. Stephen Bright – Humans and drugs


Today we speak with Dr. Stephen Bright, a clinically-trained psychologist, ethnopharmacologist and Senior Lecturer of Addiction at Edith Cowan University.

Stephen has over 15 years experience in Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) research, harm reduction and mental health. He is a member of the AOD Media Watch Reference Group, an organisation that highlights poor examples of journalism regarding AOD-related issues. He is also a founding member and vice-president of PRISM, a not-for-profit organisation supporting research into harm reduction, evidence-based drug policy and the medical application of psychoactive drugs including psychedelics.

And finally, please accept my apologies for the recording quality of this episode. My lack of experience is solely to blame. I hope it doesn’t take away from what was an interesting conversation.

Show Notes

1:30 – On animal drug use.

4:20 – On human drug use across time and space and the distinctly different view dominant today, which Stephen describes as ‘psychophobia’.

8:40 – On harnessing the therapeutic potential of psychedelics without the psychedelic experience.

12:20 – On how MDMA and psylocibin work.

21:30 – On the experience of being a clinician administering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

28:00 – On the potential of and challenges facing psychedelics within psychology and psychiatry.

33:45 – On other important and contemporary areas of human-drug relations.

40:30 – On the transfer of current alcohol use culture to drug use.

43:40 – On media portrayals of drugs.

Episode References

Stephen’s homepage at Edith Cowan University, with links to his Twitter profile and research.


Default mode network and two papers examining how it is impacted by psychedelics (1 and 2).

MAPS MDMA Therapist Training Program

Cannabis and Opioids in the treatment of chronic pain

AOD Mediawatch

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