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Addiction Meth

mr peabody

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Ibogaine and methamphetamine addiction

Many law enforcement officials say the only way off methamphetamine is death or prison. The drug is reputed to be more addictive than crack cocaine. Yet this week we talked to a Traverse City native who was severely addicted to methamphetamine for 2 years, but has been clean for 90 days. Before recovery, his addiction cost him 2 marriages, his home, two businesses, most of his family relationships and his health. He credits his success to ibogaine, a psychedelic from the root of a shrub found in West Africa.

NE: Tell me a little about yourself.

A: I just turned 40. I turned 40 in the treatment center in Miami, Florida. To be honest, I'm so glad I was there. I grew up in Northern Michigan. I have fond memories of school and I spent a quarter at MSU and flunked out. And then I got an opportunity to move to the West Coast. I was a chef and went to one of the best culinary schools in Europe, and I've run a restaurant and two very successful catering companies. But my drug addiction brought them both down. I was forced out of my catering company because I wasn't performing. It's been one tragedy after another, but I'm in a great place today. And I know I will continue on this path. There is nothing left to lose. I have such a firm grip on what life's about, I can't say I'm fearless, but I know I've seen the worst.

NE: How did you ever get addicted to meth?

A: The crazy story is I went to a treatment facility for alcohol in 2002 and my wife at the time sold my business to my business partner for a dollar because she had power of attorney and packed up her stuff and split. So the day I got out of the treatment center, there was a big moving van in front of my house. I did have a nice house. I was up and coming, I had been up and coming, I've been written up in the newspaper several times for good things.

She couldn't deal with the intensity of my business. Owning your own catering business is very stressful. I'm a go-getter and not afraid to take risks. We took a few hits, with 9-11 and opening a restaurant. There were times I thought I'd never be poor again, and then I was. She wasn't hip to the business climate. She got scared when I was in treatment. My business partner, who didn't have our best interests in mind, convinced her to sell my interest so that there wouldn't be a debt load.

NE: Tell me what happened at the treatment center?

A: In the treatment center you learn all sorts of stuff, you learn all about other drugs, and I found out about crystal meth. When my wife sold my first business and then with her leaving, I was just devastated. I was so attached to my business. I thought it was everything I was. Instead of coming out of the treatment center clean, I immediately started drinking. Then it turned itself into finding drugs, and then the crystal meth became available. I was looking for cocaine, but the dealer guy sold me crystal meth. He told me it's cheaper and lasts longer.

NE: But didn't you know how addictive it was?

A: I didn't know how addictive it was, no. I was kind of depressed, seriously depressed, and didn't care too much about wanting to live. I thought, who cares? This is making me feel better. I didn't want to feel the pain and I didn't know how to get out of the pain, other than to use drugs. I became disinterested in alcohol and cocaine and I was solely going with the crystal meth. I started a second catering company that was competing with my old one. I still had my old reputation. So I had more investors and business partners willing and able to get going. It was very successful, but the crystal meth took over and it became really clear to my business partners that I wasn't performing.

NE: But doesn't meth make you more productive?

A: It does for awhile. I catered for the TV show Extreme Home Makeover. It was 10-day event; 24 hours a day, and I pretty much did it all. We were serving 500 meals a day for 10 days straight. I pretty much went the whole 10 days and slept two hours a day. I was highly productive, highly productive.

NE: Were you grouchy?

A: Only when I was out of the drug. The thing about crystal meth is, I was on it for two years straight with only six days of not using. There are drugs similar to meth, that help people with ADD and ADHD, and I've been diagnosed with ADHD. So finding crystal meth kind of made me feel like I was normal. I had all this creative energy going on in my head so that a lot of times it was hard to focus. In a strange way, it allowed me to bring things together and focus. It makes you feel like you're large and in charge. It's crazy. It increases libido by 500%, but it can get out of control.

NE: Tell me about the six days you didn't use meth.

A: One was where my drug dealer got deported to Mexico, and the other time, I didn't have enough money to get it together. It was a very tough three days. I was still working, and I had to keep it together. It's challenging. Every cell of your body is craving what you don't have - it's a pain you can't even describe. And all I wanted to do was sleep. You can't keep your eyes open no matter what. It was scary when I caught myself falling asleep while I was driving.

NE: Was it expensive?

A: Not as expensive as cocaine, I guess. My habit was $50 to $100 a day. When I started, it was much less, $25 a day. I started to sell cocaine to keep up with the meth. I tried to sell meth, but I couldn't keep it around to sell. I was getting meth for $330 for a quarter ounce, which is a pretty good price. I tried to buy enough for other people, but I just got in the way.

NE: Who were your fellow smokers?

A: I was leading this weird double life. I would hang out with a bunch of hardcore lowlife drug users -- I put myself in that category as well -- and I also had this peer group that I had from my culinary career who had no idea what I was doing. Those worlds never crossed in the 2 years I was using meth. It's a not very glamorous drug. I was somewhat ashamed. Had I been a big-time coke junkie, who knows?

NE: Did your skin break out? Did you lose a lot of weight?

A: My teeth didn't fall out, never got meth mouth or acne and my blood pressure was good. But I went from 220 to 140 pounds when I checked into the treatment center in Miami. I was very near death, completely malnourished skin and bones. I had stopped exercising; I stopped everything except smoking crystal meth. And I had a new baby on the way. I used right up until after she was born, and then things rapidly fell apart after she was born. It was the universe's way of getting me straight.

NE: So how did it all come down?

A: My partners kicked me out of the business right before the baby was born. They were forcing me out, and I made a fatal error and got mad, F--- you, I'm out of here. You guys suck! They were very intelligent -- they used the old business school ploy to force me out by taking a lot of my creative control away, which is my thing, and I became an employee and I said, Forget this! I'm a highly creative individual, and that's why my companies have done so well. I often find that drug addicts are highly creative and highly intelligent. When I wasn't using, my life was great. The moment I started using, it disintegrated in just two years. It just devastates people faster than anything else.

My girlfriend knew something was up. She was pregnant at the time with my daughter and she also has three other children - it's not as out of the trailer park as it sounds. God bless her, she loved me so much, she didn't want the truth to be what it was. Denial was a good word in that situation. My brother intervened, he is savvy. He told her and said we have to get him some help. As soon as she got hip to it, she pretty much said, you gotta go and get help. At first, I was convinced I had it under control, except I fell from grace.

I sensed an intervention coming on and I told them not to, I didn't want to go through another intervention. That first treatment center was a horrible, horrible experience. I didn't get a lot out of it. They beat you down, make you feel unworthy, an addict, and you'll always be that way unless you do it their way. I thought, forget it. I'll kill myself because I don't want to do this. I didn't want to live without the drug. I just didn't want to feel the pain of being human. I had not learned how to cope as a child. Instead I would just escape. I had finally found the perfect escape. Most addicts don't have the coping skills that other people who don't use drugs regularly have. So we are these crippled adolescents in 40-year-old bodies who stick their heads in the sand.

My brother was very concerned for my life, and he's a spiritual guy, a practicing Buddhist and an alternative thinker. Certain kinds of experiences with drugs can take you back to yourself, before you poisoned your body, to a time of innocence. The whole experience can serve as a reset button. I don't think that drugs and alcohol are necessarily bad, although some people are naturally inclined to be addicts. They can be great teachers, but once we start abusing something, no matter what it is, physically and spiritually it abuses us back. You have to treat these plant masters as if they're spiritual entities.

My brother discovered a psychedelic called ibogaine, an anti-addiction drug which comes from the eboga plant in Africa. He did a lot of research, and thought it was something worth trying. I said, F--- you, I'm not interested, and continued using. I finally submitted -- I wanted to raise my daughter, and I felt I still had something to live for.

NE: But isn't ibogaine banned in the United States? Where did you go for treatment?

A: I went through recovery in Miami through the Holistic Addiction Treatment Center and they have a loose relationship with Dr. Mash (a professor of neurology at the University of Miami and a leading proponent of the drug). The drug was administered in Cancun Mexico and I was there for five or six days.

NE: Tell me what your treatment was like.

A: I was prepped for two days in Cancun and then at 10 a.m. on the morning of Friday, I was given the ibogaine. And then I was under the influence for close to 36 hours, which was an extraordinarily long time, but my body absorbed it. It was too long for me. There were times I thought, Oh god, please let me come down?

There aren't a lot of words for some of the stuff that I saw or experienced, other than I was close to God in so many different ways. It was administered under a very clinical setting -- it was given to me in the form of capsules. I was hooked up to an IV and a blood pressure cuff, and a body temperature sort of deal. I thought, I'm in a safe place. I was with a doctor and two nurses who watched me around the clock. They hooked me up to this machine; I was in a really comfortable bed, the room is completely dark, and I had these eye goggle things, headphones, and an mp3 player with six to eight hours of tribal drumming with some underlying tracks of rhythms that your neuro-pathway responds to.

Dr. Mash is one of the world's leading brain scientists. She's hip to how your brain responds to sound and music. I wouldn't say it was hypnosis. In traditional ceremonies there are similar approaches on a more fundamental level. With peyote, an Indian sits at the door of the teepee and plays a rhythmic drum -- it's slow and it's fast, heavy and then it's light. It helps the person with their journey.




Incredible visions

I started to feel it after 45 minutes; it's a huge body rush. You feel warm, your fingers and toes are tingly, and then it comes on really fast. You can see what your mind is suddenly creating. I created these incredible visions -- so fast that I couldn't process what the experiences were. After awhile, it slowed down. I tell people, with the slot machines, the three columns are spinning at different rates of speed. Within these columns were experiences I remembered, some I didn't know what they were, strange random things. There were these incredible patterns of geometric patterns that I would become, I would look at them and they would change. If I focused on one, I'd get pulled into it, or become part of it. Some of it was childhood trauma that I would re-experience in a peaceful, gentle way. It allowed me to process some of this stuff that I hadn't processed before.

It allowed me to see me, the 8-year-old child, and have compassion for him and kind of tell him he was okay and he was safe in all those things that were not terminal and he could get on with his life. Some of it was random crazy stuff. Like these childhood toys.

We had this thing called a Big Wheel. I was able to ride this Big Wheel and play. When you get on it and peddle really fast and the wheel spun, it was like being a child. I was never scared. Some get scared. I think it's not letting yourself go with the experience.

There are so many people who have profound experiences where someone came to them and said stop using drugs. But that didn't happen to me. I had an overwhelming experience of peace and harmonic connection with myself, the planet and the universe. There were some dark scary moments of things I couldn't describe. Some people see snakes or spiders. I didn't see any of that, but I felt the presence of darkness. I didn't push it away. I hung with it for a period of time and that passed on. Most of my ibogaine experience was in a beautiful bright light with lots of colors. I could smell colors.

Afterwards, I first tried to sleep and I couldn't sleep. I was not tired at all and I was up for another three to four days. You get a huge hit of serotonin. I went back to Miami. I did have some counseling. They let me process it; not everybody at this treatment center opts for the extra credit of ibogaine; I was one of the few people and we kind of stuck together. Some didn't understand taking drugs to get off drugs. But the people that did were of the same mind, and we processed our stuff tighter with a therapist as well. There were six people who opted for ibogaine and they are still not using.

NE: I know that part of the counseling involved being told not to return to your old group of friends who used meth. Was this difficult for you?

A: No it wasn't because of my dual life element. But a lot of people who were with me at the center were doing really good until they went home. Their friends are still using and they fell right back into it.

NE: How much did your treatment cost?

A: The treatment center alone was $21,000 and the ibogaine experience was $5,500. I didn't have any insurance at the time. I was there for in-patient treatment, which included six days in Cancun. We went to a gym, did aikido, yoga, went to a spa every Saturday. Then we lived in this outpatient house, it was reality based. Some centers lock you up and keep you out of the general population. These are called lock-down facilities. With this treatment center, you had to want recovery because you could easily use drugs. There were people who left halfway through and you don't get your money back.

NE: How do you feel now?

A: Dr. Mash has done studies that show our receptor sites are put to pre-drug abuse status after the ibogaine experience. Some of that can be argued because it's just one study, but I know in my heart of hearts that I'm physically and mentally as good or better than I was in my 20s. My body is coming back faster than I expected it to. I'm 175 pounds. I exercise daily, do yoga. I have a couple of dogs, and I'm always busy with them.

I'm not working right now by choice because I can float a little bit longer. I'm going to go back to school and get a degree in herbal medicine, if not go for a natural pathics degree. I'm going to take my culinary background and wrap it with nutritional science and get into the healing field. It's one way to stay on track, and I can help people. Which I'm good at.

Im also going to do some marketing for ibogaine, work as a liaison between Dr. Mash and the treatment facilities on the West Coast. I have to wait another three months. No one is going to take 90 days of recovery seriously. It'll help me stay clean.

NE: Do you have cravings now?

A: I don't ever want to go back to where I was. I don't want to lose my family, my life, the things I created. Every once in awhile when stress hits, or pressure hits, it crosses my mind, but it goes through my head so fast. To think of crystal meth today - what was I doing? What was I thinking? It definitely wasn't me.

Some people don't have as many resources as others. And you pray for them. You see people in the treatment facility and think, oh gosh, they're not getting it. Or there's so much pain. One 19 year-old kid, a world class surfer, he didn't do ibogaine -- his dad was in prison. He grew up with that whole concept, and he admired his dad, but he did things that put him in a place where he went to prison. He started to get it, but he was one of the kids who didn't make it.

NE: Any last words on your recovery?

A: Ibogaine is so important. It's not too good to be true and I'm a living example of it. I/m so lucky to have found it, and I wouldn't be clean without it.

https://www.northernexpress.com/news/feature/article-2192-addiction-to-meth/
 
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mr peabody

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Ibogaine blocks the cravings and withdrawal symptoms of many types of drugs

"Its effects are pretty dramatic," says Dr. Kenneth Alper, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University who specializes in addiction research. "I've observed this firsthand, and it's difficult to account for."

Dr Alper was among the attendees who gave a presentation on the benefits of ibogaine to the Catalan Ministry of Health. Dr Alper believes ibogaine's most likely path to prominence in the United States will be as a medication for meth addiction, for the simple reason that doctors and treatment providers have found that small daily—and thus drug-company-friendly—doses seem to work better for meth addiction than the mind-blowing "flood doses" used on opiate addicts. Alper says no one thought to try non-hallucinogenic quantities of ibogaine until recently. Ibogaine treatment providers tend to have been former ibogaine users, and most assumed that the introspection brought on by tripping was key to overcoming their addictions. "That's just how it evolved," he says, noting that the large doses do seem to work best for opiate detox.

"You're talking about a drug that has been used in less than 10,000 people in the world in terms of treatment. It's not surprising that's how it evolved. The visions have some psychological content that is salient and meaningful," Alper adds. "On the other hand, there is no successful treatment for addiction that's not interpreted as a spiritual transformation by the people who use it. It's the G-word. It's God. We as physicians don't venture into that territory, but most people do."

Recently Wilkins has been experimenting with small daily doses of ibogaine for people with heart conditions or other health problems that make the "flood dose" unadvisable. The non-hallucinogenic regimen seems successful, she says, citing the case of Ron Price, the former bodybuilder, in particular. Price first came to Tijuana for ibogaine in 1996 and has been back six times, including his October stay. "Every time I feel like I'm getting out of control, I come here," he says, his voice a gruff mumble. "The very first time, I had a bit of visuals. It's supposed to take six months to get off methadone. With this it was one day. It was incredible. I haven't had a craving for methadone since then."

That first time, Price took a "flood dose," enough to keep him tripping for hours on end. During this stay, Wilkins started him off with a tiny dose and gradually increased the amount he ingested each day. At the same time, she was weaning him off Oxycontin.

"We reduced your Oxy dose from 240 milligrams to 120 milligrams, in what, two weeks? That's great!" she says encouragingly. "He was fantastic," she adds proudly. "He developed a routine in his day. He was getting up and watering the garden, and not staying in bed and watching TV. He was walking the dog and wanting to go out—he was eager to go home, not scared."

Now, seated at the kitchen table, Price reflects on what has been most helpful during his time in Mexico. The ibogaine lessened his cravings for drugs and alcohol, he says, but eventually the effect will wear off. "It's no magic thing," he says pensively.

"It's creating good habits and creating a support system. Ibogaine strips you of the cells and walls you build up for yourself. It allows you to go AA meetings — which I'll do when I get home. At least it gives you a fighting chance to make your own decision."

http://archive.seattleweekly.com/hom...129/story.html
 
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mr peabody

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My experience with ibogaine

For approximately the past 5 years I was addicted to opiates. It began with percocet, progressed quickly into oxycontin and then when supply ran low I turned to opium tea. As I write this, only four days ago I was drinking two large, dark glasses of opium tea per day. I was pretty much opiated-out most of the time from a series of depression issues ranging from the suicide of an ex-girlfriend to horrible job situation to the love of my life cheating on me. After prices for poppy pods went sky high, I simply could not afford my addiction any longer and I searched for what my options were. Tapering off the tea didn't seem possible and it would take months of will power. There was no way I was going to simply turn to methadone for the rest of my life and going cold turkey, well, if you have ever experienced the effects of withdrawal from opiates, you know the hell that can be and it would probably last a couple weeks or more.

I finally found several great documentaries about Ibogaine, the African root that supposedly could cure even veteran heroin addicts in a couple of days. I watched a video called 'Rite of Passage', which I highly recommend, and that gave a lot of information on how to proceed. Now, there are clinics in Canada, Mexico and Europe who will administer this drug to people, but the price was thousands of dollars that I didn't have. I found a company who was willing to ship some Iboga capsules (325mg each) along with a gram of Ibogaine. So, I did the research and decided to venture into the experience on my own. From what I was told, I should take at least 2.5 grams of Ibogaine for my weight and type of addiction. I figured that, since I was doing this alone, I would take a fraction of that amount, and I am glad I did. The experience was MUCH more aggressive than I imagined or what really was explained in the available information. I feel that, had I taken the full dose, I may have been hospitalized. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how it felt.

My last full dose of opium tea was taken at 11pm on a Wednesday. I had a full nights rest, then I started the treatment around 2pm on Thursday, right around the time I would be looking for another dose. I did not eat that day, I was not supposed to as I would very possibly be throwing it up anyway. You are supposed to wait at least 12 hours since your last shot of opiate to start the Ibogaine. I started with what is called a 'test' dose, which was 4 325mg capsules of Iboga (the raw root powder, KNOW the difference! Iboga is the pure root powder that comes from the root, Ibogaine is the synthesized extract which is several times more powerful than just Iboga). I waited about 40 minutes after I took the test dose to make sure I had no adverse reactions. I felt weird, but good. In fact, it seemed as if the capsules alone stopped my craving for opium in a matter of minutes. So then I went ahead and took about 3/4ths of a gram of the Ibogaine (I took the powder and put it in a couple of vegetable capsules, which I simply swallowed). I laid down in my bed (you MUST be laying down through this process), put on my .mp3 player, which I loaded with soft, new age music and tried to relax. I did find that the music helped me not panic.

My stomach was empty so the effects kicked in within maybe 10 minutes or less. The first effect I felt was a high, intense buzzing throughout my body. Sort of freaked me out, but I just breathed and let the drug do its thing. A few moments after that, the hallucinogen part kicked in. I've done LSD, Mushrooms, Mescaline, Salvia and DMT and this was nothing like anything I've experienced. The weird part was, my mind was actually fairly clear throughout the hallucinations. Oddly enough, I could have held a coherent conversation with someone throughout the process if I had to. The patterns behind my closed eyes were so intense, I often had a hard time telling if my eyes were opened or closed. But the most disconcerting parts were:

1. My energy absolutely fell out of my body within 20 minutes of taking the last dose. I could hardly lift my head or move and that scared me because I was alone. I had no idea it would be that powerful.

2. I was in such a total state of dizziness, that it felt as if I had downed a liter of vodka and a few hits of acid. If I turned my head just a little, the whole room spun and swam. I wish I had put an eye mask over my eyes to avoid this.

After maybe 90 minutes, I threw up twice. I was prepared with a bucket, so this really didn't bother me. In fact, I felt much better after I puked. The strong hallucinations only lasted two hours at the most. Then the Ibogaine went to work on stripping down my body and blocking the opiate receptors. I was still slightly tripping, but that didn't bother me anymore. This 'stripping' lasted about the next 20 hours and it was possibly the most awful thing I've ever had the discomfort of experiencing. It was akin to being scraped head to toe from the inside, out. All I could do was writhe in pain in my bed and take it. After a few hours of that, I absolutely HAD to get some water in me and I had not brought any into my room. It took every last bit of my energy to crawl on my hands and knees down the hallway to the kitchen and pour water for myself. Each subtle movement I made felt like it would turn my stomach. I dry heaved twice just trying to crawl back to my bed. So, if you are insane enough to do something like this alone, which I DO NOT recommend, make sure you have everything you may want in arm's reach of your bed.

Now, I had a few friends offer to babysit me while I did this and I turned them down. I was afraid they would panic or make me even more nervous as I embarked on what I imagined would be a very private journey. I now wish I would have had someone there just to retrieve things for me. There really would not have been much else they could have done for me.

By around 6 the next morning, Friday, I was still chained to my bed, but I felt the pain slowly, slowly subsiding. For a long while, I felt like the Ibogaine wasn't working and I panicked that I needed more opium tea. Apparently, this is common to think its not working right at first. My suggestion is to have faith, it will work and just let the process happen. It WILL go away and your energy WILL return to you quicker than you realize. The way I felt while it was cleaning my system was that I would be stuck in bed for days, maybe a week, from this drug, but I was wrong. By eleven the next morning (Friday still), I forced myself to stand up and get more water and I was amazed that, once I stood up, I actually felt much better. My body was already beginning to stabilize. Slowly, throughout the day, my energy came back and my stomach began feeling a little better. I was exhausted but sleep was still impossible. The drug acted almost like a type of speed. I slowly began putting basic juices and simple cereals into my system. That made me feel better, but it was irritating that I could not sleep. This lasted a few days until I managed to start sneaking in a few hours here and there. The dizziness slowly subsided and I was able to move freely about the house by Friday night. My mind was on overdrive, though. I felt like my brain was processing all sorts of data at an incredible speed. It didn't really bother me, but again, it made sleep impossible.

By Saturday, I was convinced that it had worked wonders. I had almost no signs of detox and there was very little pain. My whole body felt raw but it wasn't anything close to the horrible detox withdrawals. I now write this report on Sunday since my detox on Thursday. I still have not slept a full night, but I feel normal. I'm clean of opiates, I can feel it. The only issue I'm still dealing with now is the experience of having all of my nerves suddenly be operating at full capacity at the same time. Its not painful, per say, but it is a little freaky. I feel like my nerves are jumping out of my skin sometimes, but again, I have nothing to complain about compared to where I would be right now if I had just gone 'cold turkey'.

Right now, I can't even imagine putting another drug into my system. It's too raw. It feels like I'm in a brand new body. So, overall, despite the harrowing experience, I am so glad I did this treatment. I DO NOT recommend doing what I did and going it alone, selecting your own dosage. Do your homework. But, if you do choose to go down this path, just keep in mind while the Ibogaine is in full effect that IT WILL PASS and you will be a new person in no time. It was scary, but absolutely worth the journey. I feel like I have been given a second chance to make better choices and my cravings for opiates are zero right now. Let's work to spread the word of this alternative detox option and get the US government to declassify this as a Schedule 1 drug. Peace.

---

Dr. Bruno Chaves has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated have remained abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting new patients for treatment in hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly : [email protected] -pb
 
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mr peabody

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Ten years of therapy in one night

In 1962, Howard Lotsof, a 19-year-old heroin addict in New York, was given iboga by a chemist, which he tried for kicks. After consuming the bitter rootbark powder, he experienced a visionary tour of his early memories. Thirty hours later, when the effects had subsided, he found that he had lost all craving for heroin, and he had no withdrawal symptoms of any kind.

He then gave iboga to seven other addicts, and five stopped taking drugs immediately afterwards.

In 1985, Lotsof patented the ibogaine molecule for the purposes of addiction treatment, but could not get his treatment approved. In the interim years, ibogaine had been declared, along with LSD and several other psychedelic molecules, an illegal "schedule one" substance, with potential for abuse and no medical value. Although it found dedicated support among a ragtag group of countercultural activists and left-over Yippies, in 1995 the National Institutes of Health discontinued research into the substance, and pharmaceutical companies have since ignored it, perhaps due to low profit potential.

But now, interest in ibogaine is growing rapidly, passing a "tipping point" through a combination of anecdotal evidence, underground activism, journalism and scientific research. Articles have appeared in US publications ranging from the authoritative Journal Of The American Medical Association (Jama) to the populist Star. The Jama piece, Addiction Treatment Strives For Legitimacy, described the drug's stalled and tortured path through the regulatory agencies, noting that the treatment's frustrated supporters in the US have set up an "underground railroad" to give addicts access to the drug: "While unknowable scores of addicts continue ingesting ibogaine hydrochloride purified powder - or iboga whole-plant extract containing a dozen or more active alkaloids - few trained researchers witness the events."

The Star took a more colourful approach: "Rare Root Has Celebs Buzzing" it said, trumpeting the treatment as the hot ticket for "the numerous celebs who look for relief from their tough lives, a needle or prescription drugs." The article insinuates that "some of our favorite A-listers" not only get cured but enjoy the hallucinations as an illicit "fringe benefit." Outside the US, new clinics have opened in Mexico, Canada and Europe, offering reasonably priced, medically supervised opportunities to try ibogaine as a method of overcoming addiction.

Iboga is the sacred essence of the religion of the Bwiti tribe of Gabon and Cameroon. Most members of the tribe ingest it just once in their lives, during an initiation ceremony in which massive amounts of the powdered bark are consumed. Through this ritual, they become a baanzi, one who has seen the other world. "Iboga brings about the visual, tactile and auditory certainty of the irrefutable existence of the beyond," wrote the French chemist Robert Goutarel, who studied the Bwiti. The iboga bark's visionary power is produced by a complicated cocktail of alkaloids that seems to affect many of the known neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Its complex molecular key may lock into the addiction receptors in a way that resets patterns and blocks the feedback loops that reinforce

In an essay on ibogaine's anti-addictive properties, Dr Carl Anderson of McLean Hospital, Virginia, speculated that "addiction is related to a disrupted relationship between the brain's two hemispheres, and that ibogaine may cause 'bi-hemispheric reintegration.' " Ibogaine also accesses REM sleep in a powerful way - many people need considerably less sleep for several months after an ibogaine trip.

Six years ago, I became a member of the Bwiti. I had heard about ibogaine in an anarchist bookstore in New York. On a magazine assignment, I went to Gabon and took iboga in an initiation ceremony. It was one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, experiences of my life. I had heard the substance described as "10 years of psychoanalysis in a single night" but, of course, I did not believe it. As the tribesmen played drums and sang around me until dawn, I lay on a concrete floor and journeyed back through the course of my life up to that point, witnessing forgotten scenes from childhood. At one point, I had a vision of a wooden statue walking across the room and sitting in front of me - later, I was told this was "the spirit of iboga" coming out to communicate with me.

My Bwiti initiation was complicated by a belligerent, greedy shaman who called himself The King and demanded more money from us before, during and after the ceremony. The King was also dissatisfied with the visions I described, and threatened to keep feeding me more iboga until I reported more impressive sights. The initiation, which lasted more than 20 hours, was ultimately liberating. At one point, I was shown my habitual overuse of alcohol and the effect it was having on my relationships, my writing and my psyche. When I returned to the US, I steadily reduced my drinking to a fraction of its previous level - an adjustment that seems to be permanent.

Recently, I tried ibogaine for a second time. I took it at the Ibogaine Association, a clinic in Rosarito, Mexico. I had been contacted by a heroin addict who had been inspired to take ibogaine after reading the book I wrote about my experiences: three months after his first treatment in Mexico, he was still clean - after a 12-year dependency. He told me, "Your book saved my life." He had given Dr Martin Polanco, the clinic's founder, a copy of my book, and he had offered me a free treatment. I was curious to see how the experience would differ away from its tribal context. My new friend wanted to take it again to reinforce the effect. We went down together.

Polanco estimates that his clinic has treated nearly 200 addicts in its first 18 months. About one third of those patients have managed to stay clean - either permanently or for a considerable period; many have returned for a second treatment. "Ibogaine needs to be much more widely available," Polanco says. "We still have a lot to learn about how to administer it, how to work with it." He does not think iboga is a cure for addiction, but is convinced it is a powerful tool for treatment - and, in some cases, it is a cure. He plans to set up several non-profit clinics. "This is something that should be non-profit," he says. "After all, it is a plant. It came up from the earth. It does give you some guidance. It shows you how you really are." He chuckles. "That can be scary."

The Ibogaine Therapy House in Vancouver, British Columbia, opened last November. "So far, we have treated 14 people quite well," says Marc Emery, the clinic's founder and head of the BC Marijuana Party. "They all say that their life has improved." Emery, nicknamed the "Prince of Pot", is funding the free clinic with proceeds from his successful hemp seed business. "Ibogaine stops the physical addiction without causing withdrawal," he says, "and it deals with the underlying psychological issues that lead to drug use."

Emery estimates that treatment for each patient at the clinic costs around $1,500, which includes two administrations of the drug. "When I found out about ibogaine, I felt that someone should be researching this, but the drug companies aren't interested because there is no commercial potential in this type of cure." Neither he nor Polanco is too concerned about ambiguous studies on ibogaine's toxicity. As the Jama article noted, "One reviewer wrote that the drug's toxicology profile was 'less than ideal', with bradycardia [an abnormally slow heartbeat] leading the list of worrisome adverse effects."

"From the masses of reports I have studied, a total of six people have died around the time they took ibogaine,"
says Emery. "Some were in poor health, some took other drugs at the time of their treatment. That doesn't scare me off. I have a lot of confidence in ibogaine."

At this stage, with little scientific study, the true toxicology of ibogaine is impossible to determine - the treatment is unlicensed in other countries and illegal in the US. The decision whether or not to take such a risk is entirely personal. Emery notes that his clinic screens for heart problems and other medical conditions that might contraindicate the treatment. It also gives patients small daily doses of iboga for two weeks after their initial treatment. "Iboga tends to make anything bad for you taste really crappy. If possible, we want our patients to quit cigarettes at the same time. We think that cigarettes can lead people back to other addictions."

Emery notes that nobody has so far criticised the project, and he is seeking support from local government. "Iboga tells you to change your ways or else - it goes over all of your health and personal issues. It is like the ghost of Christmas past."

Randy Hencken drove us from San Diego to the Ibogaine Association. A 25-year-old former heroin addict who had kicked the habit after two ibogaine treatments at the clinic, he was now working for the association, going to local methadone centres with flyers and keeping in contact with former patients. The first treatment costs $2,800, including an initial medical examination and several days' convalescence afterwards, but subsequent visits are only $600 - and it seems most addicts need at least two doses of ibogaine to avoid relapsing.

"The Ibogaine Association is in a quiet, dignified house overlooking the Pacific, decorated with Buddhist statues and yarn paintings from Mexico's Huichol people. I was given a medical examination by Polanco and a test dose of the drug. Twenty minutes after ingesting the test dose, I started to feel nervous and light-headed. As I took the other pills - a gel-capped extract of the rootbark powder - I realised I was in for a serious trip."

"The nurse led me back to my room. My head already spinning, I lay back on the bed as she hooked me up to an electrocardiograph and headphones playing ambient music. Why was I doing this again? Ibogaine is no pleasure trip. It not only causes violent nausea and vomiting, but many of the "visions" it induces amount to a painful parading of one's deepest faults and moral failings. I had a loud, unpleasant buzzing in my ears - the Bwiti probably pound on drums throughout the ceremony to overwhelm this noise. With my eyes closed, I watched as images began to emerge like patterns out of TV static. I saw a black man in a 1940s-looking suit. He was holding the hand of a five-year-old girl and leading her up some stairs. I understood that the girl in the vision was me and that the man represented the spirit of iboga. He was going to show me around his castle."


While startling at the time, such an encounter with a seeming "spirit of iboga" is a typical vision produced by the Bwiti sacrament. In many accounts, people describe meeting a primordial African couple in the jungle. Sometimes, the iboga spirit manifests itself as a "ball of light" that speaks to the baanzi, saying, "Do you know who I am? I am the chief of the world, I am the essential point!" Part of my trip took the form of an interview that was almost journalistic. I could ask direct questions of "Mr Iboga" and receive answers that were like emphatic, telegraphed shouts inside my head - even in my deeply stoned state, I managed to scrawl down in my notebook many of the responses.

I asked Mr Iboga what iboga was. I was told simply: "Primordial wisdom teacher of humanity!"

Later, my personal faults and lazy, decadent habits were replayed for me in detail. When I asked what I should do, the answer was stern and paternal: "Get it straight now!"

This ideal of straightness, uprightness, kept returning during the trip - a meaningful image for me, as I suffer from scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. When I was shown other faults that seemed rather petty and insignificant, I tried to protest that some of these things really didn't matter. Iboga would have none of it, insisting: "Everything matters!"

Iboga told me that I had no idea of the potential significance of even the smallest actions. I reviewed some events in my life and my friends' lives that seemed bitterly unfair. Yet, in this altered state, I felt I could sense a karmic pattern behind all of them, perhaps extending back to previous incarnations. Iboga affirmed this, dictating: "God is just!"

To many readers, these insights may sound trivial. They did not feel that way at the time. They were delivered with great force and minimalist precision. While they might have been manifestations of my own mind, they seemed like the voice of an "other". Generally, I never think in such direct terms about "God", and "primordial wisdom teacher" is not my syntax.

During the night, I had numerous visions and ponderous metaphysical insights. At one point, I seemed to fly through the solar system and into the sun, where winged beings were spinning around the core at a tremendous rate. Up close, they looked like the gold-tinged angels in early Renaissance paintings. Perhaps due to my recent reading of the Austrian visionary Rudolf Steiner, this whole trip had a kind of eco-Christian flavour to it. At one point, I thought of humans as an expression of the Gaian Mind, the earth's sensory organs and self-reflective capacities, at the planet's present state of development. If we are changing quickly right now, I considered, it is only because the earth has entered an accelerated phase of transformation, forcing a fast evolution in human consciousness.

The loud buzzing sound that ibogaine produced seemed to be something like a dial tone, as if the alkaloid were in itself a device for communicating on a different frequency than the usual one. Thinking of my girlfriend and our child, I realised that I was lucky - "You are lucky!" Mr Iboga echoed. I felt tremendous, tearful gratitude that I had been given a chance to live and love, to explore and try to understand so many things.

As so often these days, I pondered on the terrible state of the world - wars and terrors and environmental ruin. I saw sheets of radioactive flame devouring cities, huge crowds reduced to cinders. I asked Mr Iboga if this was going to be the tragic fate of humanity. The answer I received was startling - and reassuring: "Everything is safe in God's hands!"

As ludicrous as it may sound, this message has stayed with me and alleviated much paranoia and anxiety. While tripping, I decided that Mr Iboga was a form of enlightened mind, like a buddha who had chosen a different form, as a plant spirit rather than human teacher, to work with humanity, imparting a cosmic message of "tough love". At one point I asked if he would consider incarnating as a person, and the answer I got was, basically, "Already did that!" - implying that, in some previous cycle, he had passed through the perilous stages of evolution we are now navigating. I also came away from this trip with the suspicion that iboga was the original inspiration for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Biblical tale. The plant's placement in equatorial Africa, cradle of humanity, would support this idea, as well as its sobering moral rectitude. The "good and evil" that iboga reveals is not abstract but deeply personal, and rooted in the character of the individual.

Late in the night, I retched and vomited out bitter rootbark residue. I put on a CD of African drumming. Closing my eyes, I watched a group of smiling Bwiti women dance around a jungle bonfire. After that, the visions died down, although it was impossible to sleep until late the next night.

My friend in recovery had a less visionary experience. His faults were also paraded in front of him in repetitive loops that seemed endless. At one point, I heard him scream out, "No! No! No!" He saw a possible future for himself if he didn't kick heroin - becoming a dishwasher, sinking into dissolute old age with a bad back and a paunch. He asked what he could do to help save the world. He was told: "Clean up your room!" Meditating on his experience later, my friend quipped, "Ibogaine is God's way of saying, 'You're mine!' "

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/sep/20/booksonhealth.lifeandhealth
 
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Dr. Bruno Chaves speaking at MAPS' 2017 Psychedelic Science Conference in Oakland, California

Good afternoon. First of all, I want to thank MAPS for the invitation. Today I will talk about what we are doing in Brazil about bringing ibogaine to be, let's say, [an] above ground treatment to people. So, that's why we ask if finally in Brazil, is ibogaine stepping out from the underground. I am a medical provider of ibogaine since 1994. I am the first medical provider in Brazil, and I think I am the first provider in Brazil, medical or non-medical. I've done more than 1000 treatments.

In Brazil, we don't have too much heroin addiction, we have more stimulent addiction, like cocaine and crack cocaine. So everything that I will talk about our work there, I will be talking about stimulant addiction. We've published some works on ibogaine, a retrospective study, in 2014. I helped to write the clinical guidelines published by GITA, and we've recently published a politative study on treatment, on ibogaine. I'm a former GITA board member.

Brazil has the most rigorous laws about prescription medicines in the world, and this happens because some time ago there were a lot of women who got pregnant after consuming birth control pills containing wheat flour. That was a big scandal in the country, and after that, ANVISA, which is our FDA equivalent, it changed all the regulations about prescription medicines. So it's easier in Brazil for you to get a drug like cocaine or crack than to buy a medicine if you don't have a prescription. This was the birth control pills that were contaminated with wheat flour...it happened in 1998. And after that, they published this law that we call article 273, that says that it's forbidden to sell, or to administer, to use or prescribe or take with you any kind of medicines that are unregistered in the ANVISA, or are from unknown origin. And it is so rigorous that in some situations you get more time in jail for prescribing a non-registered medicine than for a registered one. It's very, very rigorous.

What is a registered medicine in Brazil? It's a medicine that was previously evaluated by the ANVISA, who will analyze the documentation, the clinical trials, the scientific advances. They are more prone to approve a medicine if it's already approved in another country, but there are some medicines that are only approved in Brazil. They see the package, and they see the labels, and if all the requirements are fitted, ANVISA declares that this is a registered medicine. After that, the doctors can prescribe it, and it can be sold, and there are various levels of control on that. Some medicines only need a simple prescription, and others need to be prescribed in special forms that are provided to the clinicians under request.

So it's possible to do the ibogaine legal treatment in Brazil because it's not forbidden, it's not controlled, it's not banned, but it's not registered until now as a prescription medicine. But ANVISA allows people to use non-registered medicines if we meet some requirements that they ask. Basically, we have these two laws that state that non-registered medicines can be used since they are bought in the name of the patient - the medicine must be imported in the name of the patient - in the exact amount of medicine that patient will use, and this importation must be for a single use or for a limited time of use, and the maximum time of 6 months.

This situation doesn't apply to ibogaine because we normally use that only once, so it fits the law. In Brazil, people are using this law to import a lot of unregistered medicines - medicines for appetite, ibogaine, and medical marijuana preparations. So we import ibogaine to Brazil legally. It arrives in a box that goes through the customs and through ANVISA, and every time they ask a lot of questions, but they allow us to use it. As you can see in the stamp, it's a national agency on sanitary vigilence, "ANVISA liberated" without opening. The first times we imported it 20 years ago, people used the ANVISA at the airport, they used it to open the package and look at the bottle of the medicine, but now they are used to that - they know that we do it - so they are releasing it without opening the box.

But this kind of situation, this kind of importation, has some disadvantages. It takes a lot of time for the medicine to arrive in Brazil and to be released in the airport. The patient must wait all this time. The average time is 30 days, but sometimes it took around 3 months for the medicine to be released. There are costs because you must hire brokers and people to help release the medicine in the airport. If you use an amount that is less than what you bought, you must discard what you didn't use, which makes the patient pay for more than they really need. And ANVISA asks for a medical prescription to accept the importation. So this makes the cost higher than we would like it to be, but at this moment, it's the only way to import it legally.

In 2014 we published a retrospective study on ibogaine, showing a good affect on maintaining a distance from cocaine and crack cocaine. During that year, around 62% of the patients remained clean. And after that, helped by people - activists, psychologists, psychiatrists - people who understand the need for a shift in the treatment of addiction in Brazil - they helped us to talk with the government. We went to the State Council on Drugs Policy, and we went to the National Secretary on Drugs Policy and the Ministry of Justice, and we explained it for the people how ibogaine works, we showed them the study, we asked for more funds for research, and we asked for some kind of facilitation in this regulation - we wanted for regulation not to be so hard for us to try to lower the costs. We showed them that ibogaine really changes the QTc interval and EKG, so the State Council on Drugs Policy - they published some resolutions. It works only for the Sao Paulo state, but anyway, they said :

1. The use of hallucinogenic substances for treatment of problematic use of psychoactive substances should be considered an option that requires scientific research.

2. Scientific research with the use of hallucinogenic substances, including the development of options for treatment of substance abuse, should be encouraged financially by development institutions in order to ensure the realization of quantitative research, qualitative and randomized controlled clinical trials.

3. The semi-synthetic or synthetic compounds based on active principles of Tabernanthe iboga and other species of the genus Tabernaemontana (Aponynaceae family) must have their therapeutic potential in the treatment of problematic psychoactive substance use investigated through scientific research.

4. The semi-synthetic or synthetic compounds based on the active principles of Tabernanthe iboga and other species of the genus Tabernaemontana (Aponynaceae family), particularly ibogaine formulations, can only be administered for the treatment of the abuse of psychoactive substances in a hospital environment, with doctor's supervision and control, given the and good practice of the profession and good recommendations to clinical practice, including rigorous clinical, psychiatric and psychological assessment and psychotherapeutic monitoring.

It was interesting that this decision of the State Council had more repercussion in the U.S. than in Brazil, and in Brazil few people were aware of it, but in the U.S., we saw on the internet some posts talking about this situation, that it opens the door for ibogaine treatment. After that, at the end of 2016, we published a retrospective study - a qualitative study. We saw that the patients improved their quality of life. Even if they relapsed after ibogaine, their relapses were different, and the patients, most of the time, even after relapsing, they said that they felt different, and they felt that this relapse after taking ibogaine was different - that it was easier to get off again and to be clean again. So we measured in a quantitative study the percent, the amount of people that were clean. And in this politative study, we measured how people felt after ibogaine, even if relapsing. Most of the patients relayed that it was different, and even [if] relapsing, they thought that ibogaine had helped them.

So we are at this moment taking the next steps. We are trying to extend this regulation from Sao Paulo to other states. We are trying to somehow register the medicine. It's not easy to because it costs a lot of money - we think about 2 million dollars to register the medicine in ANVISA, because we need to show a lot of documents. We had a signal from ANVISA that maybe they could allow us to have what they said a fast track, which is maybe they will not ask for so many documents that they normally ask because they understand that it's an emergency. We have a lot of people in Brazil dealing with this problem. So it's possible - it's in negotiation at this moment - but it's possible that ANVISA will allow us to register the medicine and give us around 3 or 4 years to use it, and they could wait for this time for us to provide them the documentation. And we are trying to copy the MAPS's model on MDMA - we are trying to negotiate with ANVISA, that ibogaine treatment should be done in a controlled environment, with all the equipment necessary, and all the conditions necessary in the case of emergency.

I need to comment that all these years working with ibogaine, and more that a thousand treatments that I've done, I never saw a real emergency, I never saw a patient die. The worst thing I saw during a treatment was the patient vomiting a little more than the usual, but no problem. I think that this happens because we really [carefully] selected the patients who were going to do the treatment. We do a lot of clinical examinations, we do psychological evaluations, and we only allow people to take ibogaine if they are really in good health. We think that ibogaine treatment works like a minor surgery, so we do some pre-op operating examinations - like in a surgery of the stomach, or of the bladder, or anything in traditional medicine: If the patient is not ok, with blood pressure or with diabetes, for example, the surgery is postponed.

So we do the same thing. We only give ibogaine to the patient if he is really ok, if he is in good shape, in good health. So I think that this explains partially the reason why we never saw complications. We know that other places in Brazil, underground treatments, there was at least one death in Brazil, but it was not in our hospital. The patients that we treated, nothing really important happened. But we really need to convince the government that this is important, that this medicine really works. But what we feel is that the government agencies, they are open to hear us, and they are open to try to make some regulations.

In an ideal world it will be not necessary to be regulated, and people would have their responsibility to give or to take ibogaine, only in a proper situation. But we see there are a lot of people who are looking more for profits than really worried about the health of the patients. We think that from the first moment, it would be good if we really follow the ANVISA regulations, and we show that it works, and that in the proper conditions, it's safe. And I think after that, maybe the regulations could be loosened, and it will be more accessible for people.

The fact is that we need to bring ibogaine to the people, with not [such a] high cost, and easier for people to achieve it. It's important for people that they know that there is an option in the end that's a light in the end of the tunnel, and they must seek for a treatment that could be done in a good place, being cared [for] with responsible people, and in a place that they can feel that if anything different or dangerous happens, they will be cared [for]. What we see in some underground treatments in Brazil is that when people start to have some major reactions, normally the people 'put the patient away,' [or] dismiss the patient and say 'go home', like saying 'go and die at home.' And this is exactly what we don't want to happen. We want ibogaine to be seen like a normal treatment, like a lot of other medicines that are hard on the body.

I remember when I was studying medicine we used to treat pulmonary infection with a medicine that was highly cardiotoxic medicine, and the professors used to ask the internists to stay sitting by the patient during all the time that this medicine was dropping into the system of the patient, because we could have some kind of cardiac arrythmias. We want to do ibogaine like that. We want to have the authorization to do ibogaine since there's a person [there] to care for the patient, to be around. If anything different happens, the patient will be protected.

From all the treatments that I saw, I think that it's worth the risk. I think it's much more dangerous to take crack in the streets than to take ibogaine in a hospital.

Dr. Chaves has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated remain abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting new patients for treatment in hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly at : [email protected] -pb
 
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Iboga appeared to me as a black man, an African warrior, and said he was there to help me. I immediately began thinking about my father, as I have much childhood trauma associated with him. Iboga clapped his hands, and my dad appeared. He looked drunk and had an aggressive, angry expression on his face, with his fists in the air like he was about to beat me. Suddenly, Iboga clapped his hands again, and instantly my father was transformed into a scared little boy, around age eleven, crying about being beaten by his grandfather (his primary caregiver during his childhood). Then I felt the massive resentment I held towards my father uprooted out of me by Iboga.

Next, came my mother. Iboga did something very different this time: he transformed me into my mother, and all of a sudden I felt all the pain and suffering that I had caused her during my addiction through lying, stealing, manipulating. This vision humbled me to a level I had never felt before, and since then, I cannot bring myself to lie to her without bawling my eyes out, precisely because I was her and I felt all the pain I had caused her. Iboga allowed me to forgive myself for the pain I caused the woman who loved me more than anyone else in the world, but he emphasized that I must never again cause her that type of pain.

I remember my hallucinations. I saw shamans in my closed eye visuals, and a jaguar just staring into my eyes. The worst part was when I saw my mom crying. When I would use drugs, my mom would cry sometimes, but when I was high I didn't care. When I saw my mom crying, I felt so shitty, like I owe her for all her happiness that was lost.

I laid there and I had deep locked thoughts from my childhood, flashbacks of all the negative experiences I had, and realized exactly why I used drugs to begin with. I did also see open eye visuals. There was one moment where I saw a pair of non-human eyes floating above, then all of a sudden a long tongue dropped to my bed where the eyes were, this hallucination was very shocking. It was like the same shock experienced when you hear a loud and unexpected sound. Ibogaine had a lot of those moments. Ibogaine is like a stern teacher or parent teaching you a lesson, it is not fun and games. Towards the end, I felt very peaceful.

I was at peace with everything. I accepted my fate..., that I had died trying to save myself from a lifetime of misery, as well as everyone around me. The ibogaine was working a miracle and saving my life. It totally cleansed my body from every toxin I had put in it for 20 years. It defragmented my brain and allowed me to reboot. I was laying there like a dead man, and all of a sudden the power came back on.


https://thethirdwave.co/ibogaine-treatment/
 
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mr peabody

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End your meth addiction with ibogaine

The first and most important requirement is that you have to be 100% ready to be done with drugs, that you are mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically ready to fully surrender yourself and accept plant medicine healing in your life. You have to know what you want and mean it. Ibogaine will work for you only if you are ready.

If you are not ready to take full responsibility over your life and choices, then ibogaine treatment is not for you.

The second requirement is you have to do this for yourself, not your loved ones, friend or family member. If a loved one is pushing you into treatment or your family has done an intervention but you are not quite ready, you need to wait until you are doing the program for yourself.

The third requirement is that you understand that ibogaine is not a cure for addiction. Instead, it merely interrupts addition. You have to prepare yourself to let go of old patterns, behaviors, and environmental and social factors that have led you to your addiction. If you come into ibogaine treatment expecting that ibogaine will do all the hard work for you, then your sobriety will only be temporary.

You will have to take what you learn during your treatment program and apply it to life once you get home. You will go through an adjustment period afterwards, and that requires making the right decisions and taking action.

At the heart of all addictions, it first began on a spiritual and emotional level. This is also why many rehabilitation programs such as the twelve-step program are unsuccessful in the long term because traditional detox therapies only work to heal the physical level, where the current rate of success is about 1% - 7%. Too many people who have been through these expensive and ineffective programs end up with a sense of despair, and even a sense of personal failure. Most rehabilitation centers and western society in general, are not aware that humans exist in 3 worlds: physical, mental and spiritual. While there are on-going support groups for addicts trying to kick their habit, withdrawal can be so overwhelming that attempts to discontinue the drug often end in failure.

Physically ibogaine works to relieve symptoms of withdrawal. Patients who have used ibogaine to treat drug addiction report a complete absence of physical symptoms once treatment is over. Ibogaine works by resetting neurotransmitters in the brain. It also works as a psycho-spiritual tool that helps the patient look deeply into their past to find the root problem of their addiction. Addicts are usually victims of deep emotional traumas who are seeking to find an escape of this through their drug of choice. The key to breaking your addiction is understanding this:

Ibogaine takes you on a deep introspective psychological journey that allows you to forgive others who have hurt you as well as forgive yourself for things you have done that you regret and continue to carry with you.

Ibogaine therapy can provide individuals with critical insights into the origins of their addiction. This is the key to full recovery: digging up and reviewing the roots of addiction. These profound realizations contribute to full recovery and a deep new found appreciation for ones life. Once the iboga has broken your addiction, the next step is to rebuild the body and mind with nutritional medicine and supplements. It is this extra step that can increase the chances of a lifelong recovery from addiction. While ibogaine is not successful 100% of the time, estimates from various clinics range between 60% to 70% in terms of the number of people who successfully use iboga to get off drugs permanently, which, let's face it, is amazing.

Ibogaine is the ONLY substance known to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms associated with methamphetamine addiction. However, for people who return to the same environment they abused methamphetamine, there is a 90 percent relapse rate.

The difference between success or failure will depend on whether you are

1. Committed to the process of recovery
2. Committed to removing yourself from your previous environment

Dr. Bruno Chaves has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated remain abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting new patients for treatment in hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly : [email protected] -pb
 
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As meth use surges, first responders struggle to help those in crisis

by April Dembosky | May 1, 2019

Amelia and her roommate had been awake for two days straight. They decided to spray-paint the bathroom hot pink. After that, they laid into building and rebuilding the pens for the nine pit bull puppies they were raising in their two-bedroom apartment.

Then the itching started. It felt like pinpricks under the skin of her hands. Amelia was convinced she had scabies, skin lice. She spent hours in front of the mirror checking her skin and picking at her face. She even got a health team to come test the apartment. All they found were a few dust mites.

"At first, with meth, I remember thinking, 'What's the big deal?' " says Amelia, who asked that we not reveal her last name to protect her family's privacy. "But when you look at how crazy things got, everything was so out of control. Clearly, it IS a big deal."

While public health officials have focused on the opioid epidemic in recent years, another epidemic has been brewing quietly, but vigorously, behind the scenes. Methamphetamine use is surging in parts of the U.S., particularly the West, leaving firstresponders and addiction treatment providers struggling to handle a rising need.

Across the country, overdose deaths involving methamphetamine more than quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Admissions to treatment facilities for meth are up 17%. Hospitalizations related to meth jumped by about 245% from 2008 to 2015. And throughout the West and Midwest, 70% of local law enforcement agencies say meth is their biggest drug threat.

"But policymakers in Washington, D.C., haven't kept up, continuing to direct the bulk of funding and attention to opioids," says Steve Shoptaw, an addiction psychologist at UCLA in Los Angeles, where he hears one story after another about meth destroying people's lives.

"But when you're in D.C., where people are making decisions about how to deploy resources, those stories are very much muffled by the much louder story about the opioid epidemic," he says.

Even within drug treatment circles, where you'd think everyone would be on the same side, there's a divide. Opioid addiction advocates are afraid their efforts to gain acceptance for measures like needle exchange programs and safe injection sites will be threatened if meth advocates demand too much.

"The bottom line is, as Americans, we have just so much tolerance to deal with addiction," Shoptaw says. "And if the opioid users have taken that tolerance then there's no more."

So local lawmakers in San Francisco are trying to get a grip on the toll meth is taking on their city's public health system on their own. Mayor London Breed recently established a task force to combat the epidemic.

"It's something we really have to interrupt," says San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who will co-chair the task force. "Over time, this does lasting damage to people's brains. If they do not have an underlying medical condition at the start, by the end, they will."

Since 2011, emergency room visits related to meth in San Francisco have jumped 600% to 1,965 visits in 2016, the last year for which ER data is available. Admissions to the hospital are up 400% to 193. And at San Francisco General Hospital, of 7,000 annual psychiatric emergency visits last year, 47% were people who were not necessarily mentally ill — they were high on meth.

"They can look so similar to someone that's experiencing chronic schizophrenia," says Dr. Anton Nigusse Bland, medical director of psychiatric emergency services at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. "It's almost indistinguishable in that moment."

"Someone who has methamphetamine-induced psychosis,"
he says, "they're often paranoid, they're thinking someone might be trying to harm them. Their perceptions are all off."

For example, someone starts walking into traffic on Sixth Street while shouting and taking off his shirt. A bystander calls 911 and reports a mentally disturbed person, and then the police come and deliver him to Nigusse Bland's department.

If the person is really agitated, doctors might administer a benzodiazepine to calm down, or even an anti-psychotic. Otherwise, the treatment is just waiting 12 to 16 hours for the meth to wear off. No more psychosis.

"Their thoughts are more organized, they're able to maintain adequate clothing. They're eating, they're communicating," Nigusse Bland says. "The improvement in the person is rather dramatic because it happens so quickly."

Trends in drug use come in waves

For some people recovering from addiction, the memories of meth-induced psychosis are part of what motivates them to stay sober.

For Amelia, the scabies scare is what alerted her mother to her addiction, forcing an intervention. Even though she did not have scabies, the itchy feeling and the fear are vivid, even a year and a half later.

"I still don't really want to say it out loud that it wasn't real," says Amelia, now 33.

For Kim, another woman in recovery, there was one day last year when she says she went wine tasting with a friend in Sonoma. She was high on Xanax and speed.

"I was crazy," says Kim, 47, who also asked that we not reveal her last name. "Meth causes people to act completely insane."

She and her friend got in an argument in the car. Kim thought someone was behind them, following them. She was utterly convinced. And she had to get away.

"I jumped out of the car and started running, and I literally ran a mile. I went through water, went up a tree, and I was literally running for my life," she says. "I literally thought I was being chased."

Kim was soaking wet when she walked into a woman's house, woke her from bed and asked for help. When the woman went to call the police, Kim left and found another woman's empty guest house to sleep in. Kim says she just wanted to get warm.

"But then I woke up and stole her car," she says.

That's how Kim ended up in jail, in a residential treatment program in San Francisco, part of the steady rise in people seeking help for meth addiction. Rehab admissions in San Francisco for meth are up 25% since 2015.

"The trend in rising stimulant use is nationwide: cocaine on the East Coast, meth on the West Coast," says Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a professor of medicine and substance use researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

"It is an epidemic wave that's coming, that's already here," he says. "But it hasn't fully reached our public consciousness."

"Drug preferences are generational,"
Ciccarone says. "They change with the hairstyles and clothing choices, like bell bottoms or leg warmers. It was heroin in the 1970s, cocaine and crack in the '80s. Then opiate pills. Then methamphetamine. Then heroin. And now meth again."

"The culture creates this notion of let's go up, let's not go down,"
Ciccarone says. "New people coming into drug use are saying, 'Whoa, I don't really want to do that. I hear it's deadly; people look really doped up and they're not that fun to be with. I'm going in a different direction.' "

Kim has been with meth through two waves. When she got into speed in the 1990s, she was hanging out with a lot of bikers, going to clubs in San Francisco.

"Now what I see, in any neighborhood, you can find it. It's not the same as it used to be where it was kind of taboo," Kim says. "It's more socially accepted now."

Dying from meth

A hint about who is using meth today comes from the data on deaths. Meth is not as lethal as opioids: 47,600 people died of opioid-related overdoses in 2017 compared to 10,333 deaths involving meth. (About half of those involved a mix of meth and opioids.) But the death rate for meth has been rising. Meth-related deaths in San Francisco doubled since 2011 and more than quadrupled nationally. This is another indication that more people are using meth and that today's supply is very potent, says UCSF's Ciccarone.

Another hypothesis that experts have come up with to explain the growth in meth-related overdoses is that meth users are aging. Most meth deaths are from brain hemorrhage or a heart attack, which would be unusual for a 20-year-old.

"Because your tissue is so healthy at that age," says Phillip Coffin, a physician and the director of substance use research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. "Whereas when you're 55 years old and using methamphetamine, you might be at higher risk for bursting a vessel and bleeding and dying from that."

Older adults have higher blood pressure, maybe heart disease, that makes their heart weaker.

"So stimulant-related death, really, you shouldn't see it affect so many young people," Coffin says.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation runs a 12-week program called Positive Reinforcement Opportunity Project to help men who have sex with men stop using meth. The project's program manager, Rick Andrews, has noticed a trend in older men coming in for help.

"Older gentlemen who grew up in the time of HIV and AIDS initially, maybe they led very safe lifestyles, and now they're older," he says.

Now that things are different with HIV — there's treatment, there's a prevention pill, PrEP — they're taking a new approach to the often drug-fueled party scene.

"They feel like they've missed out and they want to have a little fun and make up for lost time maybe," Andrews says.

Another explanation for the rising death rate is that meth is contaminated. And that affects everyone, old and young. Last year, three young people in San Francisco died after smoking meth together. It turns out the meth had fentanyl in it. The synthetic opioid has been causing waves of heroin overdoses across the country, but now it's showing up mixed into cocaine and meth.

Most researchers believe the contamination is accidental.

"The whole idea of the evil drug pusher who's trying to create a market by getting their cocaine users hooked on fentanyl — I would highly doubt that," says UCSF's Ciccarone.

Dealers know that people are particular about their drugs, he says. It doesn't make sense to alienate a customer base like that. He compares it to coffee drinkers' preference for a favorite style of coffee.

"Folks that are doing hardcore illicit drugs can be pretty fussy, too," he says. "And most meth users don't want an unbeknownst fentanyl put into their methamphetamine."

"More likely,"
Ciccarone says, "the same table that was used to cut and bag fentanyl later got used to bag meth."

Deliberate or not, health officials call this poisoning. They started distributing fentanyl test strips to meth users so they can test their drugs. But counselors like Rick Andrews say the strips aren't refined — even trace amounts will give a positive result.

"I hear guys saying, 'Oh, there's test strips and I'm testing. It's positive, but I do it anyway and everything's fine,' " Andrews says.

"That's why they're also giving out Narcan, the nasal spray that can reverse an opioid overdose," Andrews says. "They're telling meth users to carry it just in case."

Recovery

Over her two decades of meth use, Kim has been through drug treatment more than a dozen times. Relapse is part of recovery, and among meth users, 60% will start using again within a year of finishing treatment. Unlike opioids, there are no medication treatments for meth addiction, which makes it particularly hard to treat.

Kim finished her last round of treatment in April at a six-month residential program for women in San Francisco called The Epiphany Center. She came to Epiphany directly from jail, after serving time for her housewarming spree and stealing the car. She says in the first 30 days, all she could do was try to clear the chaos from her mind.

"You have to get used to sitting with yourself, which is essential for life, is to get along with your own self," she says.

Kim is hopeful that this recent treatment will stick. She's living in transitional housing now, she has a job, and she has been accepted to a program at the University of California, Berkeley to finish her college degree.

"I've gone through 12 different programs and it's been for my children, for my mom, for the courts. I've never come to be there for myself," Kim says. "So it's like I've come to a place where it has to be for me."

 
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mr peabody

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"I think your in a position... where you're gonna have to decide whether you're hanging on the cross,
or banging in the nails."



Meth users at risk of congestive heart failure

by Paul Krueger | May 7, 2019

Studies show emergency room visits related to methamphetamine abuse have increased over recent years.

As methamphetamine arrests continue to climb and the amount of the illicit drugs seized by law enforcement steadily increases, hospitals are treating more health problems caused by the street drug.

Meth-related heart failure is one of the most serious illnesses diagnosed in San Diego County emergency rooms and doctor’s offices.

"The fatality rate with meth-associated congestive heart failure is extraordinarily high," said Dr. David Shaw, a cardiologist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest.

Shaw said methamphetamine damages the heart muscle and causes the heart to enlarge. It can no longer efficiently pump blood to the lungs and other organs, causing fluids to back up in your body. A patient’s legs can swell, exhausted by just standing up.

Shaw said the effect of congestive heart failure is similar to a malfunctioning mechanical pump like you’d buy at Home Depot.

"You have a pump in the basement,” Shaw explained. “If it doesn't work, the basement fills up with water. That's pretty much what happens to the body."

Doctor Shaw and colleagues reviewed 3,000 cases of congestive heart failure at two Scripps hospitals and published their findings in a medical journal.

They found that meth-related heart failures almost tripled from 2009 to 2014.

By comparison, Shaw’s study found there was almost no increase in heart failure caused by alcohol or cocaine use.

"Fortunately," Shaw says, "a meth-damaged heart can be at least partially repaired when addicts stop using the illicit drug and take prescription medications the help rebuild the damaged muscle."

“They start with a heart that’s enlarged, and they end up with a heart that’s contracting much more vigorously,”
Shaw told NBC 7 Investigates.

Scripps and other local hospitals work closely with addiction counselors and the county’s Methamphetamine Strike Force to help users wean themselves from the illicit drug.

“We've gotten a lot of patients that abstain permanently, or at least very long term, with support from families,” Shaw said. “Family support is critical. Family and friend support in abstaining."

Methamphetamine-related hospitalizations are also on the rise.

A study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found 206,000 such hospitalizations in 2015, compared to 55,500 in 2008.

The western states, including California, have experienced more meth-related hospitalizations than other areas.

According to that study, the cost of meth-related hospital care was more than $2 billion in 2015.

 
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“It’s not the sort of thing anyone would ever want to repeat”*

Shea Prueger speaks while swinging in a hanging wicker garden chair at a house in Costa Rica, 30 miles west of the capital city of San Jose. The 30-year-old used to live in New York City, work as a model and shoot up heroin. Today she is recalling a desperate attempt five years ago to break her opiate addiction with a psychoactive drug called ibogaine.

She had tried methadone, Suboxone, Narcotics Anonymous and other treatments. Nothing worked. So for two days in 2011 she lay on a mattress in a concrete-walled room in an underground clinic in Guatemala, unable to move, nauseated, while her mind plumbed the deeper recesses of hell. She stayed clean for nine months, relapsed once in June 2012 and says she has not used any narcotics since. “Ibogaine,” she insists, “did for me what no other recovery treatment could do.”

Recovered addicts, along with a handful of scientists, argue that a dose of ibogaine, a substance derived from a rain-forest shrub called Tabernanthe iboga, can “reset” the addiction centers of the brain, freeing people from cravings. As claims have spread, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have been flocking to clinics primarily located in Mexico and Central America, where the drug is obtainable - it is illegal in the U.S. In 2006 there were a handful of ibogaine clinics operating worldwide; today, by some estimates, there are around 40. Clinic operators claim that a dose can curb addictive behavior, as well as depression, in about 70 percent of patients.

That success rate, if real, would make ibogaine a sorely needed remedy for an exploding problem. In the U.S., most research indicates that heroin addiction has doubled since 2007, reaching upward of one million addicts today. The increase in needle use has also triggered a new surge in HIV infections. Overall, in 2014 7.1 million Americans had some kind of serious drug problem, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Many seek help but do so in vain. For example, 40 to 60 percent of treated substance-abuse patients will relapse. About 80 percent do so if they stop taking methadone, the most common opiate replacement therapy.

Ibogaine proponents say it does a better job because it works on many neural pathways at the same time, not just one, as do other treatments. Buoyed by these ideas, two companies, one with partial funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, are currently developing medications based on ibogaine derivatives.

The drug does have a catch: it can kill its users. That is why it is off-limits in the U.S., where the substance has the most restrictive designation possible from the DEA. During treatment patients often suffer from cardiac arrhythmia, which can lead to cardiac arrest and sometimes death. Published medical reports tie ibogaine to 19 fatalities in 3,500 treatments between 1990 and 2008. Because informal clinics such as the one in Guatemala may not track all adverse events, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the U.K. estimates that the fatality rate may be even higher, reaching one in every 300 treatments. Animal studies suggest that the substance, when it does not kill, produces lasting brain damage. “Do we need ibogaine? Not if it there is a toxic part,” says Herbert Kleber, a psychiatrist at Columbia University Medical Center.

Yet desperate addicts, failed by methadone, counseling and other treatments, are undeterred by these warnings. Many of them see ibogaine—and all its heart-stopping, brain-degenerating risks—as their last, best chance to defeat addiction.

*From the article here: https://www.jasonmischka.com/ibogaine/

Dr. Bruno Chaves of Brazil has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated remain abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting patients for ibogaine treatment in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly : [email protected] -pb
 
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Low-tech, low-cost test strips show promise for reducing fentanyl overdoses.


Test strip fights fentanyl overdoses

by Katrina Krämer | 7 June 2017

Simple chemical analysis helps drug users prevent overdosing on deadly opioid.

A test strip that was originally developed for doctors to determine if patients are taking their pain medication is now helping stop drug users overdosing. The simple test can spot the presence of fentanyl, a powerful opioid drug sometimes added to heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

‘Over the past five years there has been an increasing proportion of overdoses in our region that we detect fentanyl in,’ says Mark Lysyshyn, lead medical health officer at Vancouver Coastal Health in Canada. ‘It is really a product contamination issue. People are trying to take other drugs, typically opioids like heroin, but instead they are getting fentanyl.’

Drug users can easily overdose on fentanyl, since the synthetic opioid is up to 100 times more potent than heroin or morphine. In British Columbia alone, 330 people died from fentanyl overdose in the first nine months of 2016. In comparison, between 2009 and 2014, there were 665 fentanyl-related deaths in the whole of Canada.

In July 2016, the supervised injection site Insite in Vancouver started handing out simple analytical test strips to drug users so they can check their products for fentanyl before injecting. While only a few of the 600 daily Insite visitors take up the offer, those who do find fentanyl are 10 times more likely to reduce their dose and 25% less likely to overdose. Most people test their drugs after, rather than before, use. However, detecting fentanyl in their drugs post consumption might still make users more careful in the future, Lysyshyn points out.

Although the test was never meant for this purpose – it was developed to detect tiny amounts of fentanyl in urine in people who have been prescribed the drug – it is simple enough to be used by laypeople. ‘We worked with our local police and tried a bunch of technologies, but some of the more complicated technologies, things like a mass spectrometer or ion scanner, were just too expensive,’ explains Lysyshyn. Since the health service’s pilot project operates on a shoestring budget, they opted for a low tech solution.

The test is based on antibodies that specifically bind to fentanyl, explains Shing Kwan Tse, a scientist at BTNX, the biotech company that produces the test strips used at Insite. ‘As the sample runs up the membrane it binds to the dye in the strip then gives you a visual readout in a similar way a pregnancy test does,’ adds David Campbell, business manager at SureScreen Diagnostics, which partners with BTNX and produces similar test strips for the European market.

"This is the first time drug checking has been shown to provide a positive health outcome," Lysyshyn says. Other needle exchanges in the US and Canada have now started handing out fentanyl test strips to drug users.

However, the illicit drug market is developing quickly, with new fentanyl analogues like carfentanyl – 100 times more than potent fentanyl – now hitting the streets. ‘We’re working on developing the test further to see if we can pick up some analogues of fentanyl,’ says Iqbal Sunderani, president and chief executive of BTNX. ‘One of the problems is keeping ahead of the curve,’ Campbell agrees.

 
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Michael Weese is homeless and struggles with meth addiction.


Meth devilishly hard to kick for addicts: ‘No effective treatment’

by Kevin Fagan | San Francisco Chronicle | Oct 26 2019

As she sat on Turk Street sucking in a deep pull from her lit “bubble,” or methamphetamine pipe, Roche shook her head.

“Kick meth? Are you kidding?” she said. Roche, a 20-something who said she only goes by the one name in the streets where she sleeps, blames her homelessness, her nagging cough and her constant jitters on meth. But she said she feels there is nothing she can do about it.

“When it’s got you, it’s got you,” she said. “I have about 10 friends who are dead from smoking this — and not just from fentanyl being in it — and someday that will probably be me.”

Doctors feel just as confounded as Roche does about the meth epidemic, which has long been a widespread crisis in San Francisco’s homeless community, destroying countless lives. While meth has been a problem for more than two decades, city officials say they’ve seen a huge uptick in its use over the past decade, and it’s contributed to what is widely seen as a mental health crisis on the city’s streets.

Officials announced plans last week for developing a meth sobering center in an attempt to move addicts off the street. But getting users into effective treatment won’t be as easy.

The drug is probably the hardest to treat for addiction, they say, largely because there is no replacement medication, such as methadone, which helps stave off cravings for heroin.

Even crack cocaine, which also has no replacement medication, is easier to kick than meth, most experts agree.

“It’s a super frustrating place for a physician to be in,” said Dr. Josh Bamberger, a longtime street addiction specialist and assistant director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative research institute at UCSF. “The take-home lesson is that we have no effective medical treatment for amphetamine addiction."

“We’ve tried so many medications — antipsychotics, antidepressants, Adderall and more, but none of them has a long-term impact on the addiction. It is very hard to treat.”


He said one of the best rehabilitation techniques is called “contingency management,” in which addicts are paid to stay clean, with the amount going up every week. One key — as with any substance abuse treatment program, he said — is to get addicts housed first, if they aren’t already.

“You pay $10 one week, $20 the next, and so on,” Bamberger said. “Then if you run the table and go 11 or 12 weeks without using, you have a good chance of staying clean. It’s not great, but it seems to be the best way right now.”

He said the city’s plan for a sobering center for meth addicts experiencing crises is good for several reasons, including that it will relieve stress on the more expensive hospital emergency rooms.

“Overall, it takes about 12 to 24 hours to come down from acute methamphetamine intoxication, and a sobering center can be useful for that,” he said.

“However, some people continue to exhibit psychotic behavior for days, or even months. And that can involve not just paranoid delusions, but also formication (named after the formic acid ants exude), where you feel you have ants or worms under your skin. It’s awful.”

He said one particularly disturbing effect of intensive methamphetamine use is that the change it makes in brain chemistry is “acute, and it can be long term.”

“It can ‘concretize’ existing mental conditions,” Bamberger said, meaning worsen them in hard-to-reverse ways. “In my 30 years of practice in San Francisco, there is no question that my least favorite drug is methamphetamine.”


Dr. Bruno Chaves has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated have remained abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting new patients for treatment in hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly at : [email protected] -pb
 
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Meth overdoses surpass heroin deaths in Colorado

Updated: 3:22 PM, Jun 02, 2019

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) — The number of people who died because of methamphetamine is up in southern Colorado, mirroring a statewide trend.

16 people in Pueblo County died from meth overdoses in 2018, up from 14 in 2017 and eight in 2016. Last year there were more deaths attributed to meth than to heroin.

State data shows there were 318 meth overdose deaths in Colorado last year, up from 299 in 2017 and 196 in 2016.

Kirk Bol of the Colorado Department of Public Health says a national survey of drug use indicates an increase in meth use nationally, with some larger increases in western states.

Drug overdose is currently the leading cause of death in the U.S. for those under 50. More Americans died from a drug overdose in 2017 alone than died in the entire Vietnam War.

Most of these deaths are preventable, but the "tough on crime" rhetoric of the decades-long drug war, and the stigma associated with drug use, have blocked widespread adoption of life-saving overdose prevention and treatment policies.

- Nearly 64,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2016, a staggering 22 percent increase from the year prior.

- Nearly two-thirds of 2016 deaths (66 percent) involved a prescription or illicit opioid.

- Since 2010, heroin overdose death rates have more than quadrupled.

- Recent increases in death are driven by synthetic opioids like fentanyl—deaths from synthetic opioids more than doubled from 2015 to 2016 alone.

- People age 25 – 44 have the highest death rates.

- Overdose deaths are increasing across all racial groups, but non-Hispanic whites have the highest rates of death.


Dr. Bruno Chaves has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated remain abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting new patients for treatment in hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly at : [email protected] -pb
 
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Meth playing a major role in fatal strokes among young adults

Science Daily | April 3, 2019

An estimated 76 million people use psychostimulants, which include illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, as well as prescription stimulants. A new Journal of Forensic Sciences study from Australia is the first to present national data of psychostimulant use in young adults who experienced a fatal stroke.

Investigators found that from 2009-2016, psychostimulant users constituted nearly a fifth of the 279 cases of fatal stroke in adults aged 15-44 years, the majority of which had evidence of consumption immediately prior to the fatal stroke.

Methamphetamine was overwhelmingly the drug implicated. The median methamphetamine concentration was similar to that reported for all methamphetamine-related deaths in Australia but less than half that of deaths attributed solely to methamphetamine toxicity. This suggests that high concentrations are not essential to cause a methamphetamine-related stroke.

Cases of haemorrhagic stroke were also documented involving other illicit and licit psychostimulants. In no cases were medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder identified.

"This is the first study to show the major role that psychostimulants play in causing fatal strokes amongst young adults," said lead author Prof. Shane Darke, of the University of New South Wales, in Australia. "All of these deaths were preventable. Users of these drugs, however, appear to be largely unaware of the risk. Psychostimulant users, and those treating them, need to be aware of their elevated stroke risk, which may have devastating consequences."

 
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Is ibogaine treatment in Brazil finally stepping out from the underground?

Ibogaine, like other psychedelics, such as MDMA, ayahuasca, and psilocybin, has been shown to have important medicinal values. It is extracted from an African root and, besides its powerful mind-altering effects, it really appears to help people to quit drug abuse, sometimes after a single session, or, in less successful cases, helps stabilizing their use. This appears to happen with opiates, stimulants like cocaine and crack cocaine, alcohol, and even with process addictions, like gambling or eating disorders. For example ibogaine commonly stops cravings and withdrawal symptoms of opiate addiction in around 24–36 hours.

However, this treatment has some risks. Ibogaine affects heart rate, and sometimes people can have serious arrhythmias after taking it in inappropriate conditions. Ibogaine shouldn’t be given to people with some health issues, it shouldn’t be mixed with some medicines, and people must do certain lab tests before taking it; so, it is important to have medical supervision throughout the process.

Ibogaine is a scheduled drug in some countries, like the United States; but it is unregulated in the majority of them, such as Brazil, where it is unscheduled, although not yet recognized as a medicine. This status has stimulated a growing network of underground Ibogaine providers, sometimes providing treatments in less than ideal conditions.

I am a physician, a general practitioner, and gastroenterology specialist, who graduated in 1984; I have been working with ibogaine in Brazil since 1994. In the early days, it was totally unregulated; Brazil doesn’t even have a regulation agency, like Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in US. In 1997, ANVISA, the National Agency on Sanitary Vigilance, was founded, and, although it never totally regulated ibogaine, it left a door opened for its importation and medical use.

ANVISA allows the importation of ibogaine if the person who will take it has a medical prescription, and it is for personal, not commercial, use. This kind of importation, “for personal use only,” is legal, but it is bureaucratic and not cost effective. This is because ibogaine is not banned or scheduled, but simply unregulated. This means that it was possible for me to legally conduct more than 1000 ibogaine treatments since 1994. I used the plant medicine mainly for cocaine and crack cocaine users, since heroin and other opiates are not prevalent here.

During this period of time, I participated in a scientific study at the Federal University in Sao Paulo (UNIFESP) that studied the effects of ibogaine and evaluated the procedures of administration, including the reactions of the patients to the psychoactive substance, safety issues, and treatment outcomes. This work was published in November, 2014, in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

The results were surprising: 75 patients taking mainly cocaine and crack cocaine were followed for a year; it was concluded that ibogaine treatment with psychotherapy is effective, with around 62% of the patients staying clean during the follow-up assessment; and safe, if it is done in a legal setting, in a hospital environment with proper medical supervision, and with good quality medicine. These results fit with another study, published in January 2017, that showed that ibogaine treatment, even when it doesn’t promote complete abstinence for substance abuse, improves the patient’s quality of life.

In January, 2016, based mainly in the 2014 study, and under the pressure of drug policy activists and researchers, the Sao Paulo’s State Council on Drug Policy, a government institution that manages the drug policy in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, published some resolutions (that don’t have the power of a law, but are nevertheless government recommendations) stating that more research should be done on ibogaine, and that ibogaine treatments should be done in a hospital, with medical and psychological support.

In August of 2016, there was a fatality apparently linked to ibogaine in an underground clinic in Brazil. Authorities closed the clinic subsequently, stating that it didn’t have appropriate environment, equipment, and staff necessary to deal with this kind of situation. More information about this event is expected as authorities investigate it further.

In November 2016, ANVISA banned all non-pharmaceutical ibogaine preparations, including homemade and unofficial lab preparations. Only pharmaceutical grade ibogaine, made under controlled procedures, is allowed to be used in a therapeutic setting. The medicine must have a clear origin and a purity certificate and documentation to be legally imported.

We have here the unfolding process of our goal is to make ibogaine fully legal and available to everyone who needs it in Brazil. We are not fully satisfied with all the bureaucracy, special authorizations and exceptions regulations needed to import such an effective and life-saving medicine. We want complete, cheaper, and non-bureaucratic access to treatments in safe, supervised sites. So, we decided to follow the medical path to ibogaine approval here in Brazil, since we think this will be the most effective approach.

In order to achieve this, there is a group in which I take part, working to “register” ibogaine as a medicine, under ANVISA’s guidance. This means proving to ANVISA that it works and that it’s safe, hopefully, leading ANVISA to recognize it as an official medicine. This would facilitate importation, minimize bureaucracy and costs, and would facilitate the use of ibogaine in hospitals all over the country. ANVISA will request a lot of documents and research with data about safety, effectiveness, and fabrication procedures in order to see if our efforts are sufficient to fit ANVISA’s criteria.

We are pretty sure that we will achieve this, and, in less than 5 years. Ibogaine will emerge from the underground to be an easy-to-access and valuable tool to help people with substance abuse problems to regain control of their lives, with treatments in safe places with appropriate and trained supervision. I believe the Brazilian model could inspire other countries and other regulatory agencies to do the same; not only with ibogaine but also with all the highly valuable medicines that comprise the so-called “psychedelics.”

Dr. Bruno Chaves of Brazil has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated remain abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting patients for ibogaine treatment in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly at this email address: [email protected]

https://chacruna.net/ibogaine-treatm...l-underground/
 
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mr peabody

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"Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave..."


James was addicted to methamphetamine

I've destroyed everything and everyone in my life, he confides to us. I can't go home again. I've lied, cheated and stolen; I've been fired from jobs, lived on the street, done so much damage that all the amends in the world wouldn't begin to fix it. I can't stay clean, even though I know I have to. That's my biggest fear, that I'll get out of here and go right back to the same life as before. If that happens, I'm already done. I might as well be dead already.

James is restless as he leaves the beach house for the clinic on the morning of his ibogaine session. He tells us he got zero sleep - his mind just wouldn't leave him alone, berating him with all the fear and failure he had shared with us. Still, as he pulls away in the van bound for Tijuana, he flashes a confident smile and two thumbs up.

When James returns to the beach house two days after treatment, he looks as if he's been to war. He's pale and shaky, doesn't want to talk, says he doesn't mean to be rude but is anyway. He manages a crooked grin in our direction. Unbelievable, he rasps.

2 days post-treatment, we are sitting together under the watchful care of Anny Ortiz, the onsite therapist. Through biofeedback and breathing, she's taken James into a deep state of relaxation. His eyes are closed, his body open, his words unchecked as he recounts the horrors of the first few hours of his ibogaine treatment.

Then, it's like, I saw something on the other side of all that, something bright luminous. I knew I had to get there but I was stuck in all this shit and noise and the terrible things I've done to people and the even worse things people have done to me, and every time I'd try to get out I'd get sucked right back in and I'd feel that rage rising up again and I would do anything to make it stop! It's like, do I have to die?! And then this very clear voice said: "Don't die. Forgive."

James pauses. His lips quiver; his eyelids tighten. And right there, before our eyes, James seems to kick back into his ibogaine experience. His breath sharpens; his movements become twitches and shivers. After a time the tears come, for all of us, actually. His words pour out as he starts to forgive himself, his parents, the people in his life, friends and enemies, anyone who's ever hurt him, anyone hes ever hurt; he's naming names, releasing rivers of pain and regret, asking to be cleansed, forgiven. His voice becomes barely audible, his whispered prayers punctuated by such statements as: So beautiful, Oh my God, and Thank you.

10 minutes later James is holding us in a big group hug. I love you guys so much, he says. Thank you for being with me for this experience. It means more to me than you'll ever know.

Over the next few days, James inner and outer talk begins to change. He articulates his vision for a new life. He tells us he believes that now its possible to repair some of the damage in his life. Even more important, he says, for the first time he feels as if he'll be able to stay clean. While still at the clinic, he reconnects with his mom, who invites him to come back home. He also reaches out to his former employer (who fired him for using drugs) and is told that when he's ready, there's still a job for him.

James remains in touch with us post-treatment. His phone calls are sweet, upbeat, full of optimism and enthusiasm. He's back to work and has moved into a sober living community.

-The Fix
 
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mr peabody

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"All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain..."


Rising meth-involved deaths of major concern

Filtermag.org | Jul 22 2019

For the first time since the 1990s, fatal drug overdoses decreased in 2018, according to preliminary Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. But journalists and advocates alike caution against making definitive conclusions about the trajectory of the crisis — an estimated 66,000 deaths still occurred last year — until final numbers are available later this year. For Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) Executive Director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, the country still has “a long way to go” until a victory can be claimed.

The rising number of overdose deaths involving stimulants is one such area of concern, in particular, a category that includes methamphetamine, are estimated by the CDC to be associated with nearly 13,000 deaths nationwide in 2018—the equivalent figure for 2017 stood at 10,000.

“There are a lot of factors that contribute to a decrease in prescription opioid drug-involved deaths, namely that legislation has been passed throughout the country to limit people’s access to prescription opioids, which actually isn’t an evidence-based solution,” said Kristen Marshall, Harm Reduction Coalition’s program manager for the DOPE Project. “In fact, limiting people’s access to resources—in this case, opioids—means they will need to get their needs met some other way, and will switch to other opioids, like heroin.”

Georgia mirrors the national trend of dropping numbers of deaths involving prescription opioids and increasing numbers of those involving methamphetamine. In 2018, 392 and 390 people, respectively, died from overdoses involving meth and prescription opioids like oxycodone or morphine. In contrast to national trends, meth is the most common drug involved in overdose deaths in Georgia—even more so than synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which have been recognized by the CDC as driving the “third wave” of the crisis since 2013.

The increasing number of meth-involved overdose deaths could be, in part, attributed to fentanyl-adulterated supply. Illicit cocaine and meth seized by law enforcement on the street level “almost always” contain fentanyl, commented Jack Killorin, public safety director for the Overdose Response Strategy, a public health and public safety collaboration of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program.

Some Atlanta meth users are increasingly injecting the drug, versus sniffing or smoking it, which greatly increases harms and risks associated with its use. People admitted to the city’s public drug treatment programs who reported injection use of meth doubled between 2005 and 2017, leaping from 11 percent to 23 percent.

In 2015, 9 percent of Atlanta’s surveyed injection drug users—more than half of whom were black—reported they injected methamphetamine. Back in 2006 (the rate has likely changed since) 14 percent of men who have sex with men (MSM) and use meth reported that they have injected the stimulant, though it was considered the least preferable consumption route. In 2017, nearly a quarter of all individuals “seeking treatment in the city” were injection meth users.

Skeptics of the CDC’s data point out that overdose deaths do not fully capture the scope of the crisis. “People are dying of other causes before overdosing,” tweeted Keith Brown, the director of Health and Harm Reduction at the Katal Center. For example, people who are inject drugs face higher risks of HIV transmission and its related complications.

In the context of meth use, and especially among queer men, injecting the drug is often “accompanied” with unprotected anal sex. Meth can make the body more vulnerable to HIV transmission because of its drying effect on mucosa, which can lead to tearing and exposure. In 2007, 35 percent of current new HIV infections among Atlanta‘s MSM were linked to methamphetamine use.

In addition to the drug’s physiological harms, social forces threaten meth users’ lives. From 2012 to 2017, one in five of people killed by police in Atlanta tested positive for meth, reported the Seattle Times.

More broadly, Dr. Sheila Vakharia, a drug policy researcher at DPA’s Office of Academic Engagement, notes that meth is often used by people who are homeless or unstably housed to stay awake and remain safe. “Meth use needs to be seen within broader social and economic factors,” she said.

As policy responses to the overdose crisis become an increasingly-popular talking point among politicians, Vakharia stresses that “the solutions to opioids don’t necessarily translate to stimulants. People want simple solutions, but it’s more complicated.”


Dr. Bruno Chaves has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated remain abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting new patients for treatment in hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly : [email protected] -pb
 
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I'm responding to this based solely on personal experience over the past 5 years, nothing more. However, I honestly believe that the dangers of methamphetamine are way overhyped, to a reefer madness level. I buy and use 2 baggies a month, 2 eight balls after I get my first paycheck of the month. Lasts me pretty much all month, that's including my partner too, smoked. I find myself very confident, productive, and no I dont look like a homeless zombie lol.. That is a stereotype that ironically makes most people not able to even spot us, because they have this ridiculous caricature of what a meth user looks like in their head, they cant spot the real thing, because most of us just look normal. Towards the end of the month sometimes we run out for a few days and all that happens is some drug craving, honestly. I used to be addicted to opioids and withdrawals from them where far worse, not only cravings but physical symptoms like diarrhea, headaches, runny nose etc. That I'm sure most of you already knew about. Obviously I cant speak for others, but in my honest experience the addictiveness and 'physical harm' of methamphetamine is terribly overblown, especially when people just continue to take care of themselves. I am also an avid lover of dissociatives and psychedelics as well. Each month I always do at least one 3rd plateau DXM trip and one 4 aco DMT trip. I also smoke weed and enjoy beer, just pointing out that I still spend money on plenty of other things, meth, while i enjoy it, has not taken over my life 5 years on. Just joined btw, I apologise if this was better posted somewhere else.
 

mr peabody

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Meth use surging in the U.S.*

by Martha Bebinger | NPR | Jul 29 2019

Methamphetamine, an illegal drug that sends the body into overdrive, is surging through the United States. Federal drug data provided exclusively to NPR show seizures of meth by authorities have spiked 142%.

"Seizures indicate increasing trafficking, so if seizures have more than doubled, it probably means more than double trafficking in meth," says John Eadie, public health coordinator for the federal government's National Emerging Threats Initiative.

Overdose deaths involving meth and other stimulants rose last year by 21% (from 10,749 to 12,987) according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths from cocaine and fentanyl were up too.

For decades, meth wasn't widely available in every region of the country, but now that's changing. Seizures of meth are up in nearly every state.

"It was all about the meth"

There are many paths to meth use. Some drug users say they take it to pick themselves up after taking heroin or fentanyl. Those on the street say they take it to stay awake at night and avoid rape or robbery. Others pick up meth because they are terrified of fentanyl, the opioid that can shut down breathing in seconds.


Mike Leslie

"I knew if I went back to using fentanyl, I would likely overdose and die,"
says Mike Leslie, 37, who has overdosed on fentanyl twice.

Leslie found his way to meth after more than 20 years of drug use that started with marijuana and alcohol, progressed to cocaine and then led to opioids: pain pills, heroin and fentanyl. Leslie had been off fentanyl for about four years last fall when he ran into an old acquaintance on the streets of Boston and that urge to get high took over.

"He was selling meth. It was basically the one thing out there that I hadn't tried," Leslie says. "It was readily available, so I tried it."

Leslie says meth wrecked his life so fast that he hardly knew what was happening. He kept working while on heroin, but four months after his first hit of meth, he lost his job as a recovery outreach worker, dropped out of graduate school and was sleeping on the floor of a train station.

"As soon as I tried it, I was no longer functioning," Leslie says. "It was all about the meth."

An emerging stimulant epidemic?

Eadie, who tracks the country's prescription drug monitoring programs, says the data from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas show an increase in prescribed stimulants like ADHD meds. They show that seizures of cocaine are rising too, though not as fast as meth.

"We're seeing almost as many people starting up methamphetamine and cocaine as are abusing opioids," Eadie says. "So the problem is getting worse at the moment, and it's getting more complicated to deal with."

The CDC is stepping up prevention efforts to better understand what's happening with stimulants. "We know that stimulants are a growing problem that requires an increase in public health and data collection efforts so that we can implement effective overdose prevention," says Mbabazi Kariisa, health scientist at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC.

Meth means new problems and dangers for first responders

The complications are not news to Bradley Osgood, the chief of police in Concord, N.H., which has one of the highest opioid overdose death rates in the United States.

"Methamphetamine just presents a whole new issue for us," says Osgood, "and our officers are getting hurt. We've had concussions. We've had broken hands."

He says officers may need to run through traffic after someone who is high and leaping between cars. Sometimes most of the nine Concord officers on duty at any one time are needed to restrain one person thrashing about on meth. Concord police get crisis intervention training and know how to calm residents who have uncontrolled mental health issues, but Osgood says those same techniques don't seem to work with people high on meth.

Osgood says calls to reverse an opioid overdose have started to drop in Concord because more people have the opioid-reversal drug naloxone, brand name Narcan, and use it themselves. But meth is more than filling that gap.

"It's surpassed what we're seeing from heroin and fentanyl," Osgood says. "The rise in meth has just been unbelievable."

There is no drug like naloxone that police officers or family members can use to reverse an overdose from meth or other stimulant — a racing heart, dangerously high blood pressure and extreme sweats. Deaths involve a heart attack or stroke.


Dr. Melisa Lai-Becker

Dr. Melisa Lai-Becker, who runs the emergency department at CHA Everett Hospital outside Boston, says she and her staff often get hurt, as Osgood's officers do, before they can inject a sedative, typically a benzodiazepine, to calm someone down.

"You're looking at the speedometer, and you're trying to get them down from 148 miles per hour down to 60 miles per hour," she says. "You want to get them to right around the speed limit, but you don't want to bring them all the way to a full stop."

In that case, doctors have to restart breathing and maybe the patient's heart. For the past 10 years, Lai-Becker says, she hardly saw any stimulant overdoses. These days, there are about four a week.

Meth's path into the U.S.

If a person is on meth, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says it more than likely came into the U.S. from Mexico. Jon DeLena, associate special agent in charge for the New England Field Division, recently toured a crystal meth lab in a Mexican jungle that the Mexican military said was producing 7 tons every three days.



"It's incredible," DeLena says. "Those are the drugs that are coming into the United States and ultimately up into our region."

"Mexican cartels put almost all U.S. meth producers out of business several years ago with a cheaper, more potent version of the drug that travels into the U.S. through the same channels as fentanyl and cocaine. Cartel leaders realized that drug users would want an alternative to fentanyl,"
he says.

"They study the trends just like people here study the stock market," DeLena says. "They know what the next trend is going to be, and sometimes they force that trend upon people. And that's exactly what they're doing in this case."

Some doctors, researchers and recovery program leaders worry that growing attention to meth might slow the expansion of medication-assisted treatment and other efforts to reduce opioid overdose deaths.

"That's the real focus nationally," says Traci Green, deputy director of the Injury Prevention Center at Boston Medical Center. "But we need to start paying a lot more attention to stimulants, quickly."

Mike Leslie says he worries "other drug users aren't taking meth seriously because they don't think that it will kill them."

"Meth is extremely dangerous, but the chance of overdose is not as great as it is with opiates, so people, from my experience, have less of a desire to get clean from the meth,"
he says.

Leslie says he's no longer using any drugs. And with the help of 12-step meetings, he's reconnecting with his family.

"I've put my family and my parents especially through hell and back," he says. "The way my parents put it, for me to give them their son back is the best thing I could do now."

But the rising drug-seizure numbers suggest there's more hell ahead for communities across the country facing a new or renewed wave of meth.

*From the article here:


Dr. Bruno Chaves has performed over 1200 treatments with ibogaine in hospital without a single adverse event. 62% of those treated remain abstinent long term. Dr. Chaves is currently accepting new patients for treatment in hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, contact Dr. Chaves directly at : [email protected] -pb
 
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I'd love personally to try ibogaine, having been curious about the compound since reading about it aged 14 in 2008. While I have no interest in stopping stimulant use, if nothing else I would save money.. mainly I have always just wanted to trip on ibogaine, which I understand is a highly substituted tryptamine, apparently having the 5ht2a agonism but also possessing an additional more dissociative effect. Noting that I have extensive experience with seritonergic psychedelics and the NMDA antagonist void induced by ketamine and DXM, could someone try to describe the headspace and visuals of ibogaine? Say contrasted with just psilocybin or just DXM/ketamine. signed, I do drugs with Belasarius
 
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