I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” – Edgar Allan Poe.
In this issue of IMMpress Magazine, we open a discussion on drugs and addiction. While this topic covers recreational drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana, it is important to note that no conversation about addiction would be complete without the inclusion of pharmaceutical drugs as well – especially as Canada, along with other parts of the world, is struggling with the current opioid crisis. As the line between recreational and pharmaceutical drugs becomes increasingly blurred, accessibility and regulation of these agents has become more complicated and contentious. As exemplified by the counter-culture movement that inspired this current psychedelic magazine cover, we challenge our readers to face a reality that warps and distorts conventional ideas surrounding drug use and addiction, and encourage them to keep an open mind as we move forward in legalization, prescription, and treatment.
Throughout this issue we explore the opioid crisis (pg. 10), the use of marijuana to manage chronic pain (pg. 14), and the use of psychedelics to treat mental health disorders (pg. 24). Next, we look to the future as we consider the use of artificial intelligence in drug discovery (pg. 21), and of pharmacogenetic testing (pg. 20). We also explore the complicated relationship between alcohol and academia, and the widespread prevalence of drugs like Adderall on university campuses. Self-medicating through substance abuse is a familiar coping mechanism for many struggling with mental health, a topic discussed in depth by the IMMpress team in Volume 5, Issue 2. Faithful to the team’s commitment to mental health, we also respond to the newly approved and controversial mandatory leave policy at the University of Toronto (pg. 6).
As with every issue, we would like to extend our thanks to the many writers, designers and editors whose hard work makes this magazine possible. It is also with deep gratitude and with great sadness that the IMMpress team says goodbye to our co-Editor-in-Chief Dr. Angela Zhou. Angela’s leadership, dedication, editorial fearlessness and unmatched artistic talent will be greatly missed by this publication and the department at-large. In her place, we welcome Dario Ferri as the new co-Editor-in-Chief of the magazine. Dario is a long-time writer and designer and we look forward to seeing the magazine evolve with him at the helm. We hope you enjoy this issue and the many more to come!