[Ibogaine] Vancouver’s “four pillars” drug policy

DC in AZ dcollier9 at cox.net
Fri Jul 11 21:26:35 EDT 2008


>>Vancouver’s “four pillars” drug policy already includes safe injection 
>>sites and prescription heroin for harm reduction. Ibogaine programs

- what ? how to get RX for horsey-pung in Vancouver ?

wow
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Donzo
"Love converts hearts, and gives peace."
__________________________________________________

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Vector Vector" <vector620022002 at yahoo.com>
To: <ibogaine at mindvox.com>
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 12:43 PM
Subject: [Ibogaine] Iboga Therapy House


>
> http://thismagazine.ca/issues/2008/07/lastrefuge.php
>
> .:vector:.
>
> THE ADDICT’S LAST REFUGE?
>
> B.C.’s Iboga Therapy House is following in a decades-old tradition of 
> underground rehab—administering a drug called ibogaine, which has the 
> reported side effect of curbing addiction. But can these activists take 
> their experiment mainstream?
>
> BY PETER TUPPER
> PHOTOGRAPHY BY REUTERS: ANDY CLARK
>
> The drug rehabilitation facility is an ordinary split-level house in a 
> sleepy residential neighbourhood in a small town on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast. 
> Inside, the many bookshelves contain everything from psychopharmacology 
> textbooks to psychedelic graphic novels. Visitors are welcomed by a small, 
> dark-haired woman named Sandra Karpetas. Though she has no formal training 
> in medicine, she speaks knowledgeably about neurochemistry.
>
> The people who come here need help. They’re looking for a substance called 
> ibogaine, a psychotropic drug that is reported to be an addiction 
> interrupter. Iboga Therapy House is often the last hope of people wishing 
> to free themselves from addiction to heroin, cocaine, prescription 
> painkillers or other substances. A potentially powerful tool in the 
> treatment of addiction, ibogaine is unregulated in Canada. In the U.S. it 
> is a Schedule I controlled substance, alongside heroin, cannabis and LSD.
>
> For decades, an underground network has administered it to addicts in need 
> worldwide. But ibogaine’s profound effect on the recipient’s mind and 
> body, which is what makes it an effective treatment, may also be its 
> biggest obstacle to acceptance as a medicine. Now, Iboga Therapy House is 
> where ibogaine may be recognized as a legitimate medical treatment.
>
>
>
> The original Iboga House was founded in 2002 by Marc Emery, B.C.’s 
> infamous marijuana activist and seed merchant. Financed by his marijuana 
> seed sales, Emery helped deliver ibogaine for free to addicts in the 
> Sunshine Coast, personally administering it to close to 70 people. Two 
> years later, when financial and legal troubles forced Emery to close the 
> house, he encouraged Karpetas, a comrade in the project, to continue the 
> work. In 2005, she registered the house as a non-profit, and reopened it 
> the following year at a rented property about an hour and a half from 
> Vancouver.
>
> The location was chosen to be peaceful and isolated, and kept secret for 
> the confidentiality of both clients and staff. Karpetas professionalized 
> Emery’s operation, setting up protocols for screening patients for mental 
> and physical problems at Iboga Therapy House, to reduce potential danger 
> and prevent fatalities. Iboga is now a non-profit company, with 10 people 
> on call, including a registered nurse, two EMTs, several facilitators, two 
> substance counsellors and one follow-up coordinator. There is also an MD 
> who acts as a consultant. Karpetas, now Iboga’s program director, is one 
> of two full-time employees. So far, 59 people have undergone treatment at 
> Iboga House.
>
> The not-for-profit, which is no longer free—the five- to seven-day course 
> of treatment costs close to $5,000—can generally accept only those who can 
> afford it. “There are people in every class who use substances and it’s 
> not just people who live on the street who become dependent, necessarily,” 
> says the 32-year-old Karpetas, though the clinic does sometimes donate 
> services to addicts in need. Ibogaine, like other detoxification methods, 
> is not enough on its own to get people off the streets, and works best on 
> people with support systems in place.
>
> People seek out Iboga House after learning of it through word of mouth or 
> on the internet. The candidates for treatment are screened for a variety 
> of medical conditions, including psychiatric problems, epilepsy, heart 
> problems and HIV, and must submit a general medical evaluation from a 
> doctor, along with details on their social support network and their plans 
> for recovery.
>
> Karpetas is primarily self-educated, but has a background doing 
> harm-reduction counselling with addicts. “I have some of the best mentors 
> in the world,” she says. “I didn’t go to university. But my self-education 
> has included a lot of workshops, a lot of conferences, reading books, 
> talking to people, particularly on the topics of harm reduction, 
> psychotherapy, drug education and facilitation. There really is no 
> training program for what I do.”
>
> Karpetas first heard of ibogaine in the late 1990s, through Jonathan Ott’s 
> book Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History. At 
> the time, she found herself moving in two different worlds; in one, she 
> saw people using psychoactive substances for therapeutic and 
> self-explorative purposes; in another, she saw people inflicting great 
> harm on themselves through drug abuse. Ibogaine seemed to bridge the two 
> worlds, a substance that could fight addiction by awakening the mind. 
> Despite her interest, Karpetas didn’t know there were people distributing 
> ibogaine in B.C.
>
> She planned a trip to West Africa to test ibogaine out, but instead had a 
> chance encounter with a colleague who told her about Emery’s project. She 
> immediately contacted him, and toured the facility the following day. “I 
> could see that there was some really good potential for philanthropic 
> work,” she says, “but I could also see that, unless they instituted a 
> number of changes to the way they did things, that it could also be 
> potentially dangerous.” There have been several known fatalities 
> associated with ibogaine, though not necessarily caused by it. For 
> example, in 2005, a 48-year-old woman died in a Mexican ibogaine clinic 
> from acute myocardial infarct and acute coronary syndrome. In 2006, a 
> 38-year-old U.S. man died at an ibogaine clinic in Tijuana from pulmonary 
> thrombosis. Karpetas says, “They seem to be related to improper medical 
> screening, improper monitoring during the therapy, and just a basic lack 
> of education on the part of the
> individuals taking it.”
>
> The present-day Iboga House provides a controlled setting that minimizes 
> these risks. Clients go through a thorough medical screening and wait 12 
> hours from the last dose of their drug. When they arrive at the house, 
> clients are lead to its lower level, where one room serves as an 
> altar-like space with elements of many different religious traditions.
>
> The individual takes a small test dose of ibogaine to ensure no adverse 
> reactions, then the full dose in capsules an hour later. The drug causes a 
> temporary loss of co-ordination, but also minimizes withdrawal symptoms, 
> which can typically include diarrhea, stomach cramps, leg restlessness, 
> the inability to sleep, extreme agitation and depression. “The symptoms of 
> withdrawal can be very much like the most intense flu you’ve ever had. It 
> lasts for weeks and can be extremely painful,” says Karpetas. “None of 
> that occurs with ibogaine. I haven’t seen anything like [ibogaine] 
> anywhere, ever.” The rehabilitating trip is intense. Once dosed, the 
> patient experiences a dream-like state lasting anywhere from 24 to 36 
> hours. An RN and an EMT watch the client constantly during the first 16 
> hours, with a portable defibrillator kit, an oxygen tank and a full 
> medical bag close at hand, and the local hospital is five minutes away.
>
> Karpetas avoids calling ibogaine “psychedelic,” saying instead that it’s 
> an oneirogen—a dreaminducing substance. “It’s like a prolonged waking 
> dream experience,” she says. “It has a totally different mode of action 
> than most of what are termed “psychedelics.”
>
> She also emphasizes that ibogaine is no miracle cure. “People really have 
> to have a number of things set in place in their life that are going to 
> assist them in recovery,” she says. “They should have factors such as 
> housing, social support, employment or employability skills, or a career 
> of some sort, and long-term follow-up and aftercare.”
>
> Because of ibogaine’s murky legal status, there are few studies of its 
> effectiveness. Dr. Ken Alper, an assistant professor of psychiatry and 
> neurology at New York University School of Medicine, conducted lengthy 
> clinical trials of ibogaine detoxification in the 1990s. In a study of 33 
> opioid users, 25 were found free of withdrawal symptoms 24 hours after 
> ibogaine treatment, and they showed no drug-seeking behaviour 72 hours 
> later. Testing on animals yielded similar results.
>
> Used in the initiation rituals of the Bwiti people in Gabon and Cameroon, 
> ibogaine’s addiction-treating properties were discovered by a young 
> American man named Howard Lotsof in the early 1960s. A drug user, Lotsof 
> took ibogaine, which is derived from the bark of a West African bush, and 
> experienced a 36- hour trip full of Freudian imagery. Lotsof noticed after 
> coming down that “for the first time in months, I did not want or need to 
> go cop heroin. In fact, I viewed heroin as a drug that emulated death; I 
> wanted life.”
>
> He ordered more ibogaine, an uncontrolled chemical at the time, and 
> administered it to an informal focus group. Out of the 20 people he 
> tested, seven heroin users had no withdrawal symptoms and five had no 
> desire to use heroin again during the six-month monitoring period. 
> However, hippie culture had no use for ibogaine, which was not a party 
> drug, and the U.S. government was criminalizing psychedelic drugs.
>
> Lotsof continued his ibogaine research, despite limited resources and a 
> 14-month prison term for conspiracy to sell LSD, and succeeded in getting 
> a U.S. patent on the use of ibogaine in narcotic dependency interruption 
> in 1985. However, drug companies were indifferent, seeing no profit in 
> ibogaine, which is a natural product that can’t be patented, and is 
> administered in a single, large dose instead of regular, ongoing doses, 
> like methadone.
>
> Meanwhile, knowledge of ibogaine’s therapeutic use spread by word of 
> mouth, and an underground detoxification movement grew in many countries. 
> Professional, above-ground clinics in Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean 
> provide it, and lay practitioners administer it to addicts in their homes 
> or makeshift clinics.
>
> Iboga House is not the only above-ground ibogaine clinic in the world, but 
> it is the first to contribute to the slowly growing body of research on 
> the drug, in partnership with U.S.-based Multidisciplinary Association for 
> Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a nonprofit research organization studying the 
> application of psychedelics and marijuana. When Rick Doblin, MAPS founder 
> and president, met Karpetas at a conference in 2001, he had long been 
> interested in studying ibogaine. He couldn’t do so in the United States, 
> so jumped at the chance to work with Iboga House, once that became an 
> option five years later. “[Karpetas] was willing to be honest, to look at 
> the data of how well the treatment worked,” Doblin says. “She welcomed the 
> research into the therapeutic context of the clinic, and also the 
> spotlight that it would put on her methods.”
>
> Since 2006, Iboga House and the MAPS study have worked in parallel. The 
> clinic medically screens and treats clients, after which MAPS phones them 
> once a month for a year to administer the standard addiction severity 
> index interview recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and 
> the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which tracks many aspects of a 
> person’s life, including drug use.
>
> Ibogaine must be compared with other forms of medicated detoxification, 
> which include using general anesthesia in a clinical setting to make the 
> patient unconscious through the withdrawal symptoms.
>
> Other treatment programs have high rates of dropouts. A 2004 American 
> study found that only 16.6 percent of methadone users completed their 
> programs, and even detoxification programs only had a completion rate of 
> 62.3. The remainder of participants drop out or are discharged. Treatment 
> programs can also leave the patient dependent on regular doses of drugs 
> such as methadone.
>
> In contrast to the more institutional programs, Iboga House’s philosophy 
> and goal is harm reduction, not abstinence. If, after taking ibogaine, 
> people reduce their drug use or switch to less dangerous drugs, that’s 
> still viewed as an improvement. “If they do happen to relapse and they 
> need support,” says Karpetas “they can call us or the follow-up 
> co-ordinator and say, ‘Look, I’m feeling like I’m going to relapse or I 
> have relapsed once or I had a one-time binge or something.’ We’re there to 
> support them through that period to make sure they essentially understand 
> that even if they relapse, they’re not complete failures, that they can 
> still work toward improving their life.” She adds, “Generally, we find 
> people who have not succeeded in religion-based or 12-step-based programs 
> might have a better chance of succeeding in a program like ours.”
>
> Karpetas’s goal is that, once demonstrated effective, ibogaine be 
> recognized under Canada’s Natural Health Products Regulations, as a 
> product to be used in a specific protocol in a clinical setting, with 
> Iboga House as the model and the results of the MAPS study as evidence. 
> “We would like to get accredited in the future,” she says. “But that would 
> have to go hand-in-hand with demonstrating the effectiveness of ibogaine, 
> and trying to get it regulated through the Natural Health Products 
> program.” A Health Canada official stated in an email that no ibogaine 
> containing product has yet been licensed, and it is up to the manufacturer 
> to prove that their product is safe, effective and high quality. Also, the 
> Vancouver Coastal Health Authority inspected the house in April 2008 and 
> found that it didn’t come under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act 
> because it didn’t have the facilities to treat three or more people. 
> Karpetas says that her
> house meets all the requirements of the act otherwise.
>
> Ibogaine’s therapeutic use has grown in the grey area outside medical and 
> scientific authority because of the need for better addiction treatment 
> than methadone dependency or anesthetic detox. Underground treatment 
> providers continue to operate in the U.S., where ibogaine is highly 
> illegal, because they feel people need it enough to take risks. One 
> American provider told Karpetas that, if anything went wrong for his 
> clients, his emergency procedure was, “I call emergency services and I 
> jet.”
>
> Regardless of whether legal and medical authorities legitimize ibogaine, 
> people will continue using it, just as people keep using drugs. Vancouver’s 
> “four pillars” drug policy already includes safe injection sites and 
> prescription heroin for harm reduction. Ibogaine programs like Iboga House 
> could be part of the treatment pillar, recognizing that in addiction the 
> mind, as well as the body, needs to be healed.
>
> Paula, a 42-year-old woman who had used cocaine intermittently since age 
> 19 and recently graduated to smoking crack, says that 12-step programs 
> didn’t work for her because she was constantly being reminded she was an 
> addict. She went through the ibogaine treatment in January 2008. Five 
> weeks after her treatment, she says she feels no cravings, has improved 
> her health, reconnected with her daughter and is in the process of getting 
> her business back. “I know what it’s been like going through a treatment 
> centre for seven months, and it’s not like this,” she says. “I don’t taste 
> cocaine, smell it, want it, crave it, dream it. Nothing at all. I feel 
> like I’ve got a second chance at life, where before I was just going day 
> by day, step by step. I don’t feel that with this. It’s gone.”
>
>
>
>
>
>
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