in the news

bm bmali1 at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 8 16:50:36 EST 2005


hi list 
here is a local news item from san francisco . i
learnt about it from jen who is also a member of this
list .

http://www2.cbs5.com/specialreports/local_story_034171611.html
CBS 5 Special Reports
Special Report: Addiction Stopper

Feb 3, 2005 2:12 pm US/Pacific
(CBS 5)  For millions of people who suffer from
alcoholism and drug addiction, rehabilitation is a
long painful struggle.

For Greg Douglass, being a rock star and being a drug
addict seemed to go hand and hand.

"Monday, discovered heroin. Tuesday, started making
more money. Wednesday, started making a lot more
money, which of course buys a lot more drugs. It was
an ill-timed career move," he says.

The Oakland native was a guitarist for the likes of
Steve Miler, Van Morrison, and the Greg Kihn Band,
playing to huge crowds. He even wrote the hit single
"Jungle Love" for the Steve Miller Band. But
eventually, the bright lights came crashing down
around him.

"During 1977 -- top of the charts, playing in front of
100,000 people at a time," Douglass says. "Ten years
later I was virtually homeless living in my car."

Douglass struggled with heroin and methadone addiction
for decades until two years ago, when he discovered a
different kind of drug in a clinic just over the San
Diego border. The drug could help him kick his
addictions with a single treatment. It was called
ibogaine.

"I went to the clinic in Mexico and took ibogaine
once, and everything changed," Douglass says.
"Twenty-year addiction to opiates, heroin, methadone,
you name it, ended in one eight-hour period."

Even more startling is the drugs' origins. Ibogaine is
an ancient root found in the jungles of Africa, where
it's been used for centuries in tribal rituals.
Researchers believe it contains chemical properties
that may affect key receptors in the brain.

"We think it is very powerful in terms of blocking
cravings and helps individuals during the early stages
of recovery," says Dr. Deborah Mash of the University
of Miami.

A new study conducted with rats and mice at U.C. San
Francisco found further evidence that ibogaine may
have a similar effect combating alcohol abuse. So if
the drug has so much promise, why is it illegal here
in the United States? Possibly because of something
that Douglass also experienced in the clinic in
Mexico. Ibogaine causes hallucinations.

"All of the sudden, I was laying there with my eyes
closed and a huge whoosh of red light, little
particles of red plankton. Then from out of that was a
picture of my own face when I was 11 years old,"
Douglass says. "When I opened my eyes, I was in
Mexico. I knew exactly where I was. I knew what day it
was. I knew why I was there. I would close my eyes and
I would be in a whole other world."

But far from being a controversial side effect, Mash
believes that the hallucinations may be beneficial.

"It is a psychotropic drug, mind altering," she says.
"I say we ware replacing a negative with a positive.
If this is a spiritual wake up call, bring it on. If
this helps the individual grab the demon and motivates
them to work with a counselor and to stay in
treatment, who cares if it is mind altering. It is
mind altering and it is a good thing that it is."

But the stigma of a hallucinogenic drug made it hard
for Mash to find the funding. So she was forced to
move her clinical trials offshore. While the FDA still
doesn't allow ibogaine use in the U.S., a growing
number of patients are receiving treatment in clinics
like the one we visited in Mexico.

"I feel great," said Wilda Penney, an alcoholic.
"Hopefully I can get on with my life."

Despite the promise of ibogaine, there are still some
hurdles. Critics worry about potentially lethal side
effects and lack of long-term studies. Still, the
early results are so encouraging, Mash has found
enough money to start FDA trials again in the spring.
The cost of a typical treatment with ibogaine runs
anywhere from $3000 to $10,000.

"If there is anybody out there listening to this,
there is hope," Douglass said. "Ibogaine changed
everything. It is not a miracle cure, but it worked
for me." 


=====
" lord , make me chaste , but not yet " St.Augstine of Hippo
Very bad isn’t dead (“Things can get worse.”)--Haitian Proverbs
"A truth that’s told with bad intent
 Beats all the lies you can invent." William Blake.


		
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