Empirical Evaluation of the Possible Contribution of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program to Reduction in Drug-Related Mortality

Medicina (Kaunas). 2023 Jan 18;59(2):195. doi: 10.3390/medicina59020195.

Abstract

Background and Objectives: CDC data indicate that the U.S. is experiencing a sustained epidemic of drug-related mortality, with such deaths exceeding a record 100,000 in 2021, up 47% from 2019. Opioids, especially the synthetic opioid fentanyl, account for approximately 75% of this mortality. This study evaluates a proposed Consciousness-Based® approach that may possibly help reduce trends in drug-related fatalities by mitigating what WHO refers to as an "epidemic of stress" in society that helps fuel drug misuse and other negative public health trends. This approach involves providing support in public and private sector public health initiatives for individual and group practice of a subjective, evidence-based meditation procedure suitable for those of all educational, cultural, and religious backgrounds: the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique and its advanced aspect, the TM-Sidhi® program. Materials and Methods: Segmented-trend regression analysis of monthly CDC data on U.S. drug-related fatality rates (dfr) from a prospective social experiment (2002-2016) was used to replicate and extend prior peer-reviewed research. Results: As hypothesized, (1) practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program by a group of theoretically predicted size (√1% of the U.S. population) was associated with a statistically and practically significant reduction in dfr trend during the five-year "demonstration period" of the quasi-experiment; and (2) monthly dfr trend subsequently increased during the five-year follow-up period when the group fell below the required size (both p's < 0.0001). The estimated total percent decrease in dfr during the demonstration period was 35.5%, calculated relative to the baseline mean. This decline was followed by total dfr increases of 11.8% and 47.4% relative to the demonstration-period mean during the two phases of the follow-up period. Conclusion: Existing evidence warrants implementation and further evaluation of this approach in U.S. public health initiatives.

Keywords: TM-Sidhi program; Transcendental Meditation; consciousness; drug overdose death; interrupted time series analysis; social experiment; social stress.

MeSH terms

  • Group Practice*
  • Humans
  • Meditation*

Grants and funding

M.C.D. received no funding from MIU or other sources for his participation in this research. K.L.C. received institutional support from MIU (salary and research expenses) from MIU’s College of Business Administration and the Tony Nader Institute for Research on Consciousness at MIU. No one other than the authors were responsible for the conception, research, writing, or decision to publish this research.