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

DC in AZ dcollier9 at cox.net
Sat Jul 12 08:47:28 EDT 2008

do they have rx's in vancouver for , say, h#4, h#50, or h#2 for at work ? smile. maybe someone in bc can hit up some doctors and provide what the options are, and if they are as good as in the UK, where they provide h cigs, and about whatever your pleasure, all thru rx, real harm reduction technology for 2008.
glad you guys found the ref. you cant miss out on these big things flying by, ya'know.
"Love converts hearts, and gives peace."

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: simon loxton 
  To: The Ibogaine List 
  Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2008 12:40 AM
  Subject: Re: [Ibogaine] Vancouver’s “four pillars” drug policy

  DOH! Missed that in the article...well at least I figured I might have missed something; and then found it.

  ----- 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 ?

  "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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