The Department of San Martín was until recently one of the main areas of production of cocaine paste, and Tarapoto one of the three cities with the highest rate of drugs consumption in Peru. At the same time this area of the Amazon has a high biodiversity that serves as the basis for many indigenous medical practices that are still very alive and dynamic, capable of serving as true therapeutic alternatives to major contemporary challenges in public health.
While official conventional medicine offers poor results to the treatment of addictive pathologies, scientific observation has proven that traditional ancestral treatments are very efficient to treat toxic substance dependencies. Since the 60’s, Peruvian neuropsychiatry has been worldwide recognized for its study on indigenous medicines (C-A. Seguin, M. Lemlij, O. Ríos, F. Cabieses, M. Chiappe, etc.). In 1978 Dr. Mario Chiappe reported to the WHO the high percentage of alcoholism cases that were cured with empiric traditional methods used by North Andean Peruvian healers.
Since 1986 our preliminary research work was focused on the active observation of the work of Amazonian healers, especially regarding the ritualized use of medicinal plants for the treatment of coca paste, cannabis, cocaine and alcohol consumption. Based on that, in 1992 Takiwasi opened its doors to offer a treatment protocol for consumers of legal or illegal drugs. According to this goal an adequate infrastructure was built for the residence and cohabitation of the patients, and a multidisciplinary team was constituted, formed by doctors, psychologists, educators, traditional healers and various therapeutic assistants. Since its beginning Takiwasi receives treatment requests coming from individuals or referred by public institutions or NGOs, and welcomes local, national and international patients.
Our center is a Therapeutic Community of Medical Support for Dependents of Psychoactive Substances and other Dependencies, with Authorization of Operation issued by the Regional Health Directorate of San Martín - Peru, through the Resolution 039-DG-DIRES/SM-96 and renewed with Resolution Nº 009 – 2021 – GRSM/DIRESA – SM / DIREFISSA, January 2021. Takiwasi is one of the few Therapeutic Communities legally recognized in Peru. We are also associated with the Center for National Studies on Intercultural Health and the World Association of Therapeutic Communities.
According to this authorization, Takiwasi can only welcome in residential treatment male patients between 18 and 50 years of age. For people over 50 years of age an evaluation is made case by case, according to the medical condition and substance(s) of consumption. For cases of alcoholism, we also evaluate case by case, given that the problem is more complex and even more if people are elderly and there is no adequate family support after the end of treatment.