Dr Daniel Perkins is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, where he is leading the development of a multidisciplinary ayahuasca research project (www.globalayahuascaproject.org), and a Senior Policy Adviser in the Department of Health and Human Service. He has completed a PhD through the Centre of Public Policy (Politics) at the University of Melbourne, as well as a Master of Commerce (Hons) degree, and Graduate Diploma in Social Theory, from the same institution. Daniel has over 15 years experience leading health, social policy, and labour market focused research and policy work that has included partnerships with universities, NGOs, business and all levels of government.
Mapping the global expansion of ayahuasca – new evidence from an international study
Over recent decades the Amazonian psychoactive tea ayahuasca has seen increased attention and growing consumption in countries around the world. Although the individual plant ingredients used and ayahuasca brew itself are not controlled by international drug control treaties, its consumption is being increasingly criminalised and driven underground in many locations due to concerns about public safety, the potential for abuse, and scepticism regarding the use of psychoactive substances to facilitate spiritual/religious experiences and wellbeing. This presentation draws on preliminary data from the first 2000 respondents to a global cross-sectional survey of ayahuasca drinking to provide new information relating to these issues. It will examine why people are drinking ayahuasca, patterns and contexts of use, and processes associated with consumption in a range of settings across the world, as well as whether the drinking of ayahuasca may be able to convey genuine spiritual and wellbeing benefits to drinkers. The global survey has been collecting data in six languages and is part of an international multidisciplinary study involving researchers from Australia, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.