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The Hypoascorbemia-Kwashiorkor Approach to Drug Addiction Therapy – A Pilot Study

The Hypoascorbemia-Kwashiorkor Approach to Drug Addiction
Therapy – A Pilot Study

Alfred F. Libby 1 and Irwin Stone 2

1 Address reprint requests to Dr. Alfred F. Libby. 520 West
Street, Santa Ana, California 92706.

2 1331 Charmwood Square, San Jose, CA, 95117.

Presented at the Western Regional Seminar of the International
Academy of Preventive Medicine, July 16, 1977, in San Francisco

Drug addictions, like cancer, are terrifying conditions to the victims
because of the feelings of hopelessness and abandonment generated by the rigors
of and general failure of the orthodox “treatments.”

Although crude opium addiction has a very long history, the large-scale
addictive use of morphine salts, in this country, is generally dated from their
use on wounded Civil War soldiers. Following 1864, morphine addiction was
realized to be an emerging socially significant problem in this country;
therefore searches were instituted to find less addicting drugs. The year 1890
saw the introduction of heroin. For about five more decades, to the year 1912,
nothing was done to stop the rising tide of morphine and heroin users in this
country. The realization of that fact prompted in that year the organizing of
legal opiate clinics, not however to treat the addict, only to support the
user’s habit in an attempt to stem the rising crime rate and sales of black
market drugs. These legal opiate clinics remained open until 1924 when they were
closed down as dismal failures. It took until the mid-1950’s, another fallow
period of about 30 years, before another major attempt started, the Methadone
Program, which has continued up to the present. This program embraces the
concept of orally giving a legally addicting drug (methadone) in place of an
illegal addicting drug (heroin).

The lack of success in handling drug addiction, until now, is due to placing
the emphasis on the legal aspects of the problem, mainly that of the crime and
punishment concept, and ignoring the mental and physical condition of the
addicts and neglecting to treat the health and metabolic problems of the
victims. Drug addicts suffer from severe metabolic dysfunctions and are very
sick people. Any attempted solution to the drug addiction problem which fails to
bring total health back to the addict is doomed to failure.

Drug Addiction and the Genetic Disease, Hypoascorbemia

Drug addicts, like other humans, are born carrying a defective gene for the
synthesis of the liver-enzyme protein, L-gulonolactone oxidase (GLO). This birth
defect (Stone, 1966) causes a potentially fatal, but now readily correctable
(Stone, 1967) genetic liver-enzyme disease, Hypoascorbemia (Stone, 1966a). This
“inborn error of carbohydrate metabolism” has destroyed the capability of the
human liver to synthesize ascorbate from blood glucose, and thus deprives
mankind of this important mammalian mechanism for combatting stresses. The
normal mammalian response to stress is to increase liver-synthesis of ascorbate
as an antistressor and detoxicant to maintain biochemical homeostasis within the
body (Stone, 1972).

Most mammals carry the intact gene for GLO and normally produce, under
conditions of little stress, about 10 to 20 g of ascorbate per day per 70 kg
body weight to take care of their daily physiological needs. A biochemical
feedback mechanism evolved in the early mammals (Stone, 1972a) which increased
daily ascorbate production possibly three to fivefold under a variety of
chemical and physical stresses. Humans, among the very few mammals deprived of
this homeostatic protective mechanism, suffer more physiological damage from
equivalent stresses unless exogenous ascorbate is supplied. Thus a daily intake
of 10 to 20 g of ascorbate by a relatively unstressed adult human is not
excessively high, but well within the normal mammalian range. Under stress
humans require about 30 to 100 g or more a day to maintain health. The
therapeutic use of mega levels of ascorbate has met with great success in the
treatment of the viral diseases (Klenner, 1974; Cathcart, 1976), cancer (Stone,
1976), and many other pathologies. The sub-subsistence, “homeopathic” daily
intakes of ascorbate, recommended for the past 40 years by the nutritionists as
Vitamin C” for humans, would barely suffice to keep the other mammals alive and
certainly not in good health. The wide acceptance of this erroneous nutritional
hypothesis by modern Medicine has only led to the continued persistence of
chronic subclinical scurvy (CSS Syndrome) (Stone, 1972b; Stone, 1977) as our
most widespread and insidious human disease at present.

Physiological Effects of Drug Addiction

The usual history of addiction follows this sort of pattern: The future
addicts are born with the genetic defect for CLO, and already at birth, are
suffering from the CSS Syndrome. The CSS Syndrome usually continues throughout
childhood, adolescence, and adulthood without much of an attempt at any
significant correction. It has been our experience that all of the addicts we
have dealt with began their introduction into the drug culture at an early age,
first beginning with marijuana, alcohol, barbiturates, PCP, LSD, and then on to
heroin. They usually begin as a weekend “high,” escalating into a daily habit
from which they can’t escape. Each of these stresses further depletes the
already dangerously low body stores of ascorbate leading to the severe
exacerbation of the CSS Syndrome already present. Adequate repletion of the body
stores of ascorbate is nonexistent.

On drugs, the addicts lose their appetite for food. Food deprivation or
restriction leads to severe protein and vitamin malnutrition. All the chronic
addicts tested suffer from hypoaminoaciduria. This has led us to regard a
confirmed addict as suffering from a Hypoascorbemia-Kwashiorkor type of
syndrome, and our treatment procedure was designed as an intensive holistic
approach for the full correction of these genetic and multimalnutritional
dysfunctions. The procedure is completely orthomolecular, and no foreign
substance or toxic narcotic or drug is used.

Briefly, by fully correcting this Hypoascorbemia-Kwashiorkor Syndrome, we are
able to take the addicts off heroin or methadone, without the appearance of
withdrawal symptoms. If during the period of full correction they take a “fix,”
it is immediately detoxified or otherwise handled by the body so that no “high”
occurs. It is like injecting pure water provided the dosage of ascorbate is high
enough. After a few days on the regimen, appetite returns and they start eating
voraciously. They also have restful sleep. Restless sleep or no sleep at all are
characteristic of heroin and methadone addiction.

“Full correction” in the addicts treated comprised giving them 25 to 85 g
sodium ascorbate a day in spaced doses along with high intakes of the other
vitamins, essential minerals, and high levels of predigested proteins. This is
continued for four to six days, and then the dosages are gradually reduced to
lower holding dose levels that varied from about 10 to 30 g per day. Both the
therapeutic and the holding dose levels may vary widely according to the
clinical response of the particular addict being treated. The therapeutic dosage
is usually slightly beyond the bowel tolerance level, held for 12 to 24 hours.
Selection of proper dosage is based on clinical experience and observation and
responses of the patient. Bowel tolerance is a concept introduced by Robert
Cathcart (1976) for judging the toxicity of the pathology and the required
dosage of ascorbate needed for treatment. Cathcart found the bowel tolerance
increases with increased stresses on the organism. The general improvement in
the well-being of the addicts within 12 to 24 hours after beginning sodium
ascorbate detoxification is striking. It is demonstrated by improved mental
alertness and visual acuity; appetite is returning, and the addict is amazed
that treatment is working without the use of another narcotic.

Some Recent Work on Ascorbate

We do not claim to be the first to suggest or use ascorbate in the addiction
problem, but we do claim to be the first to use sodium ascorbate properly to get
these desired results. Ascorbate injected into rats at the rate of 100 mg per kg
body weight attenuated and abolished the narcotic effects of morphine (Ghione,
1958). Ascorbate’s detoxification of a wide variety of inorganic and organic
poisons was reviewed (Stone, 1972) and included Klenner’s work on the successful
megascorbic treatment of barbiturate poisoning, snakebite, and Black Widow
spider bites. It was also suggested in this review that megadoses of ascorbate
be used in drug addiction (Stone, pp. 157-158, 1972). Two interesting papers
appeared in 1976, one from Thailand which showed that the sleeping time induced
in rabbits by 15 mg of pentobarbital could be progressively reduced by
increasing amounts of ascorbate injected five minutes prior to the
pentobarbital. The sleeping times in minutes for ascorbate dosages of 0, 250 mg,
500 mg, 750 mg were 50, 29, 27, 23 and at 1,000 mg ascorbate the rabbits did not
fall asleep at all (Bejrablaya and Laumjansook, 1976). The other paper (Scher et
al., 1976) was originally presented in 1974 to the North American Congress on
Alcohol and Drug Problems, by these authors from the National Council on Drug
Abuse and the Methadone Maintenance Institute, and was entitled, “Massive
Vitamin C as an Adjunct in Methadone Maintenance and Detoxification.” These
authors realized that scurvy played a large part in the drug abuse problem, but
they only saw ascorbate as a means to reduce some of the side effects of
methadone administration like constipation, loss of libido, and restless sleep.
For this they used about 5 g of ascorbic acid a day. It apparently never
occurred to them that by switching to sodium ascorbate and increasing their
dosage by a factor of 10, they could completely eliminate the ill-conceived
Methadone Program with all its problems and at the same time have a simple,
nontoxic, and elegant solution to the drug abuse problem.

The Orthomolecular Procedure for Correcting the H-K Syndrome

Originally in our early testing, when the addict came in we took a sample of
urine for the simple C-STIX test for urinary spillover of ascorbate and a
24-hour specimen for a complete quantitative individual amino acid and related
constituent column fractionation and assay. The results were so consistently low
on the amino acids, and with no spillover of ascorbate, that we no longer go to
the expense or bother of these tests.

The narcotic intake is stopped, and the addict is given the first dose of
sodium ascorbate, high levels of multivitamins and minerals and nine tablespoons
per day of PHH Pro, in divided doses, a predigested protein preparation. Since
the addicts have a rather abnormal digestive system, it is an aid to direct
absorption of the amino acids into the vascular system if the liquid amino acid
dosage is held in the mouth as long as comfortable before swallowing. The total
amount of ascorbate given a day will vary with the extent of the drug addiction.
It is never less than 25 g a day in spaced doses and can go to 85 g or more per
day. As a rough rule-of-thumb means of judging dosage: a $50/day habit needs 25
to 40 g sodium ascorbate, $150 to $200/day about 60 to 75 grams. Judging dosage
comes with experience, and any errors should be on the high-dosage side because
of ascorbate’s extremely low toxicity and lack of side effects. The megadoses
are continued for four to six days. During this time no withdrawal symptoms
should be encountered (if any appear, increase the sodium ascorbate intake).
Generally, in two or three days appetite returns and most patients begin to eat
well and have restful sleep for the first time since the chronic addiction
began. One of the first observations to be made of the patient on this
orthomolecular therapy is the rapid change in well-being; they feel good. The
megadoses are then gradually reduced to holding dose levels of about 10 g per
day of sodium ascorbate and lower levels of the vitamins and minerals. The
predigested protein is discontinued if the patients are eating well.

Typical Case Histories.

Case 1. T.M., male, age 23. Using drugs for 10 years. At 15,
used heroin for a “weekend high.” At the time our treatment was started, he was
supporting a $100-a-day habit. He had tried, on several occasions, the hospital
detoxification programs of methadone and liquid Darvon. Each time this program
of substituting another narcotic for the heroin failed to give him satisfactory
relief. The first thing he did when he came out of the hospital was to inject
heroin because of the insatiable craving and being sick from the methadone or
liquid Darvon. On coming in, his urine was tested for urinary spillover of
ascorbate and amino acids. There was no urinary spillover, confirming the
presence of hypoascorbemia and hypoaminoaciduria. He was given 25 g of sodium
ascorbate in 4 g doses along with the vitamins, minerals, and the protein
supplements. After three days on the regimen, he began eating and feeling so
much better and thinking more clearly, stating that “I don’t want to go stealing
no more,” and he began to have restful sleep. The ascorbate was reduced to 10 g
per day on the sixth day. He has now been on this holding dose for about three
months and is completely drug-free and has lost his “desire” for the drug. He
has graduated from the Manpower program and is now gainfully employed for the
first time in his adult life.

Case 2. A.C., male, age 24. Began using heroin at age 15 and
now had a habit costing between $150 and $200 a day. Had tried at least seven
different hospitals for detoxification and was on methadone maintenance for
three years. He still “fixed” with heroin in order to take the methadone, as it
upset his stomach and made him ill. “Methadone kills your insides,” to quote the
patient. He was such a skeptic of the value of our orthomolecular program that
on a Sunday he first took 45 g of sodium ascorbate and then in the space of five
hours he “shot-up” $300-$400 worth of heroin, and he felt no effect from this
large amount of heroin. He continued on the ascorbate, 45 g per day for 10 days,
along with the vitamins, minerals, and protein supplement. Then the dosage was
reduced to 10 g sodium ascorbate and continued for another 30 days. The patient
has moved out of the area, but when last seen, he was drug-free and had an
extreme sense of well-being and a good attitude.

Case 3. F.F., male, age 35. He had been on drugs for 23
years, the last seven on the methadone maintenance program. He suffered the
typical symptoms of methadone; severe constipation, loss of sleep, loss of
libido. He would take laxatives and enemas, and still was unable to move his
bowels. When he did have a bowel movement, the stool was so hard and impacted
that he would “faint or blackout from the pain.” He was given the sodium
ascorbate at the rate of 25 g per day for four days; then increased to 45 g,
then after one day reduced to 10 g of the 50-50 mixture of NaAA and AA. He is
still on this dosage level one month later and was seen at this time. He was
doing so well that his mental attitude was excellent, appetite had returned, he
has normal bowel movements without laxatives, and his sex drive is slowly
returning. He was advised to remain on the holding doses and return in one month
for another checkup. Methadone maintenance is much more difficult to deal with
than heroin addiction due to the adverse metabolic effect methadone has on the

At the time this paper was written 30 out of 30 patients were successfully
treated in this pilot study under the supervision of AFL.

This reported 100 percent rate of success is the same as that noted by Dr.
Cathcart in his megascorbic therapy of the viral diseases, “it works every
time,” provided enough ascorbate is used.

Orthomolecular Treatment of Drug Overdosage

Drug overdosage is a common occurrence because the wide variability in the
potency of the illicit “street” drugs and the tendency among addicts to mix
different drugs This causes many deaths among addicts. A nonspecific
orthomolecular treatment of OD’s, which acts as an antidote and rapidly relieves
the stricken addict, is as follows: If the victim is unconscious, immediately
but slowly inject 30 or more g of sodium ascorbate intravenously; if conscious
and can swallow and retain liquids, give about 50 g of sodium ascorbate
dissolved in a glass of milk.

Case History

A mother brought in her 16-year-old son who was totally “spaced out” on
“Angel Dust” (PCP). This boy was incoherent and totally out of tune with
reality. He was given 30 g of sodium ascorbate mixed in a glass of milk, and
within 45 minutes he could hold a normal conversation. If he had been given 50
g, it is likely he would have become rational sooner. With intravenous
ascorbate, this recovery time could be cut down to minutes.


This joint pilot study was started in January, 1977, after a series of
coincidences between the authors. Both authors had been working independently on
the drug abuse problem, for many years, AFL conducting occasional clinical
tests. on addicts since 1974 and getting exceedingly promising results, and IS
working on the theoretical, genetic, and biochemical background. We heard of
each other’s work in December, 1976, and pooled our knowledge and experience.
Stone had been trying unsuccessfully to get some clinical research started for
over a decade. His latest and most discouraging attempt came in November, 1976,
when a megascorbic clinical research protocol was turned down by one of the “top
men” in the field with, “there is no evidence for usefulness of massive doses of
Vitamin C in any disorder (except scurvy) — least of all in conditions
associated with heroin addiction” “Massive doses of Vitamin C are potentially
toxic.” “There is no known scientific basis for thinking that Vitamin C would be
beneficial in methadone maintenance or detoxification.”

If we had not regarded this authoritarian certitude as utter nonsense, this
promising new therapy of drug addiction could have been again delayed for years.
This prevailing attitude toward megascorbics, however, convinced us that the
orthodox drug abuse agencies were not the proper means for starting or
conducting exploratory clinical tests on megascorbics in drug abuse. We also
realized that getting any support for clinical work involving megascorbics, the
black sheep of orthodox funding agencies, would be next to impossible to obtain,
and certainly impossible to obtain quickly. Libby’s preliminary tests were so
impressive and this work had been delayed for so long, that in view of the poor
record of achievement by orthodox medicine we felt immediate action was
demanded. We eliminated all the time-consuming funding red tape by simply
operating on our own personal funds and time.

The clinical results have been so successful in 100 percent of the 30 drug
addicts treated to date of this writing, that we regarded the prompt
presentation and publication of our data to be an absolute necessity.

As a consequence of the lack of funds, we have not been able to dot all the
“i’s” and cross all the “t’s,” and chase down all our speculations. We have,
however, gone to a point where we can offer a reliable, nontoxic, simple, and
practical procedure that has many advantages over the present orthodox means of
handling drug addicts.

Even though this therapy utilizes sodium ascorbate, vitamins, minerals, and
predigested protein, we believe that the main antinarcotic effect is due to the
sodium ascorbate, and the other materials are necessary adjuncts. High levels of
sodium ascorbate have analgesic properties as shown by the observations of
Cameron and Baird (1973) and Saccoman (1976) in terminal cancer and by Klenner
(1974) in the relief of pain of severe burns and snakebite.

In terminal cancer, the ascorbate analgesia was so good that the patients’
heavy toxic morphine schedules were discontinued. Thus high levels of sodium
ascorbate mimic morphine and probably fit into the opiate receptor sites. The
fact that these terminal cancer patients abruptly removed from their morphine
showed no withdrawal symptoms was one piece of evidence that indicated our
megascorbic treatment of drug addiction would be successful.

As previously noted, ascorbate is a general detoxicant for many different
poisons, but its mode of action is mostly unknown. Klenner (1974) points out,
“Ascorbic acid can be lifesaving in shock. Twelve grams of the sodium salt,
given with a 50 cc syringe will reverse shock in minutes. In barbiturate
poisoning and monoxide poisoning, the results are so dramatic that it borders on
malpractice to deny this therapy.” The detoxicating effect of sodium ascorbate
on narcotics appears to be so rapid that this very rapidity seems to preclude a
mechanism involving direct chemical attack on the narcotic molecule, to convert
it into some inactive derivative. Also it works on so many different types of
narcotic molecules. A more compatible hypothesis would be to view the action as
a competition for opiate receptor sites of the brain, wherein high levels of
sodium ascorbate in the brain prevent the attachment and displace narcotic
molecules already attached to these sites.

Brain Receptor Sites

The research of S.H. Snyder and coworkers on the binding of morphine-like
substances to brain opiate receptor sites was recently reviewed (Snyder, 1977).
They have shown that the largest amount of binding occurs in cells from the very
primitive limbic system deep within the brain. They also showed that the very
primitive hagfishes and sharks have as much opiate receptor binding sites as the
most advanced of the mammals, monkeys, and man. They found that the properties
of these receptor sites in these early and most recent vertebrates were similar,
indicating that few changes have been made during the course of about 400
million years of evolution. It is stated that, “This suggested that the opiate
receptor is normally concerned with receiving some molecule that has remained
the same throughout evolution… possibly a neurotransmitter which acts at these
sites.” Also the presence of high levels of sodium helps dislodge the narcotic
from the receptor sites.

We speculate that these binding sites were evolved in the early vertebrate to
concentrate and localize from the very low concentrations existing in these
animals, the electronically labile ascorbate molecules which aid in
neurotransmission. The fact that these sites bind narcotics is purely
happenstance because of a possible similarity in molecular shape. There does not
seem to be any obvious physiological evolutionary reason for concentrating
narcotics in the nerve endings of this newly developing control system, whereas
there may have been a great need to concentrate and obtain high levels of
ascorbate at synapses to aid in efficient, nerve impulse transmission. Ascorbate
is a molecule that appears to have changed little in the last 400 million years
and was present on the evolutionary scene long before the fishes appeared
(Stone, 1972a). If this hypothesis is valid, then the receptor sites should be
renamed “ascorbate receptors” instead of “opiate receptors.” It should not be
difficult to experimentally test the validity of these theoretical

The rapid quenching of the narcotic effect by mega levels of ascorbate led us
to speculate on the possibility of utilizing this phenomenon for other purposes
than drug addiction namely:


  1. In surgery it might be possible to eliminate the patient spending hours in
    the recovery room “coming out” of the anesthetic which also requires nursing
    attendance. If the patient at the termination of the operative procedure was
    given a massive intravenous injection of sodium ascorbate, possibly in the
    neighborhood of 30 to 50 g, it might be possible for the patient to be awake
    before leaving the operating room. Giving the patient large doses of
    ascorbate immediately before an operation should be generally avoided,
    because it would increase the amount of anesthetic required to give an
    equivalent anesthetic effect. Giving the patient this postoperative dose of
    ascorbate would also have other salutary healing and anti-shock effects.
  2. In the megavitamin treatment of schizophrenia, large doses of ascorbate
    and niacin are routinely used. In schizophrenia, the brain receptor sites
    may be saturated with endogenously-produced hallucinogens or schizomimetic
    metabolites. The action of ascorbate may be to replace these hallucinogens
    on the receptor sites. In individuals where the therapeutic response to
    megavitamins is incomplete, it may be that the few grams of sodium ascorbate
    routinely administered may not be “mega” enough for this purpose, and they
    require daily ascorbate in the same range required in drug addiction, at
    least in the beginning of the therapy.

Materials and Sources

All the materials used in this study are orthomolecular and are commonly
available. No toxic chemicals or narcotics are employed.

The ascorbate may be obtained in several different types and forms, and it is
best to have a sufficient supply of all to meet individual requirements. One
should become familiar with the properties of ascorbate in its different forms.
Sodium ascorbate can be obtained both as the pure crystalline powder and as 1 g
tablets. The crystalline powder is very soluble in water, milk, and foods, is
essentially tasteless, and a level teaspoon weighs about 3 g. A solution has a
pH of slightly over 7. Ascorbic acid, while also quite soluble in water has a
very sour taste and is limited in the number of foods to which it may be added
because of this sour taste. It has a pH of about 3 and will curdle milk if added
thereto. Sodium ascorbate is the preferred substance for the megadosages.

The high-potency vitamin and mineral preparations were commercial
multivitamin and mineral preparations in tablet form. Six tablets supplied the
dosages listed in Table 1.


Daily Dosages of
Multivitamins and Minerals



Vitamin A

10,000 IU


900 mg

Vitamin D

400 IU


700 mg

Vitamin E

400 IU


20 mg

Vitamin B1

50 mg


0.15 mg

Vitamin B2

50 mg


500 mg

Vitamin B6

100 mg


90 mg


100 mg


5 mg

Ca Pantothenate

200 mg


50 mg

Vitamin B12

10 mcg


1 mg

Folic Acid

0.1 mg

Sterile injectable sodium ascorbate is supplied in 30 or 50 ml vials
containing a 25 percent solution. Use only the “preservative-free” product which
may be obtained from Bronson or Preventix listed below. The intravenous route of
administration of sodium ascorbate is more rapid and efficient than the oral
route, since it bypasses the digestive tract. In drug overdoses and in
occasional other cases it may have to be used, but in general we have tried to
avoid the routine treatment use of the “needle and syringe” because of the
psychological implications for the addict.

In an effort to reduce the number of separate products used in this procedure
we have been experimenting with a single combined product comprising sodium
ascorbate with the vitamins and minerals to be available soon both as a
crystalline powder and tablets.

For the protein supplementation, we used a product called “P.H.H.-PRO”
comprising a liquid predigested collagen solution containing mostly easily
assimilable amino acids. This is available in plastic bottles up to 1 gallon

These products may be obtained from the following:

Bronson Pharmaceuticals, 4526 Rinetti Lane, La Canada, CA 91011. [NB –
Bronson has since moved to St. Louis, Missouri, USA]

Preventix Pharmacal Co., 503 South Raymond Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92631.

C STIX, the 10-second dip-stick test for ascorbate in urine, is available in
bottles containing 50 plastic test strips from the Specialty Systems Department,
Ames Company, Elkhart, Indiana 46514. The current price is $6 per bottle of 50


Chronic drug addiction produces in the victims severe subclinical scurvy,
along with multivitamin and mineral dysfunction and protein deficiencies. The
widely used Methadone Program for “treating” these sick people merely
substitutes a legal narcotic for an illicit one, which only continues the severe
biochemical stresses contributing to their illness. This pilot study regarded
the addicts as suffering from a serious Hypoascorbemia-Kwashiorkor type of
syndrome. Our procedure was designed to fully correct both the genetic defect
causing the Hypoascorbemia and also the multimalnutritional disturbances and
protein deficiencies involved in the Kwashiorkor. The treatment is entirely
orthomolecular and inexpensive, is nontoxic, and uses no drugs or narcotics. It
is rapidly effective in bringing good health to the addicts. In the initial
phases of the procedure, sodium ascorbate is administered at 25 to 85 g per day
or more, along with high doses of multivitamins, essential minerals, and protein
hydrolysate. Under this treatment, the heroin or methadone is stopped and no
withdrawal symptoms are encountered. Should a “fix” be taken, it is immediately
detoxified and no “high” is produced. It is like injecting plain water. There is
a great improvement in well-being and mental alertness. In a few days appetite
returns and they eat well, they have restful sleep, and the
“methadone-constipation” is relieved. After about four to six days the dosages
are reduced to holding dose levels. In the 30 addicts tested in this pilot
study, the results were excellent in all cases, and it would appear that this
simple nontoxic procedure should serve as the basis for large-scale testing to
develop a new program for freeing drug addicts of their addiction. In drug
overdosage, sodium ascorbate can be a lifesaving measure. Unconscious overdosed
addicts are given the sodium ascorbate intravenously, 30 to 50 g while those
able to swallow can be given the same quantity dissolved in a glass of milk.
This antidote is nonspecific and works on all drugs, so no time need be wasted
in identifying the drug. We speculate on ascorbate’s action as due to the high
levels of sodium ascorbate in the brain as competing for and displacing the
narcotic from the opiate receptor sites. If this be the case, then it might be
possible to use this phenomenon postoperatively on surgical patients to quickly
bring them out of anesthesia.


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From Orthomolecular Psychiatry, 1977, Volume 6, Number 4, pp. 300-308