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

Dave Brockman davebroc at gmail.com
Sat Jul 12 03:53:10 EDT 2008

I was wondering the same thing...... you posted a quote as a reply to
a cool ibogaine article, that has nothing to do with the article. wtf
am i missing?


On Sat, Jul 12, 2008 at 3:33 AM, simon loxton <simonloxton at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Hello;
> Where was that excerpt from?
> That would be appreciated; really!.
> Thanks
> Si'
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: DC in AZ <dcollier9 at cox.net>
> To: The Ibogaine List <ibogaine at mindvox.com>
> Sent: Saturday, 12 July, 2008 3:26:35 AM
> Subject: Re: [Ibogaine] Vancouver's "four pillars" drug policy
>>>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
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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:.
>> 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?
>> 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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