MYEBOGA COMMENT: ‘DRUG EXPERTS’ make comments which are damaging to the use of ibogaine as a treatment that saves thousands of lives whenever lives are lost, often due to the incorrect use of the substance. The pharmaceutical industry is rife with deaths due to the side effects of pharmaceuticals. Ibogaine threatens the usual modalaties for treating drug addiction. So the question is: how many lives have been saved that would otherwise have been lost?
Warning over drug addiction ‘miracle cure’ – Story – NZ News – 3 News
Drug experts are warning addicts against trying a so-called ‘miracle cure’, saying the side effects could be dangerous or even fatal.
Ibogaine, a naturally-occuring substance which grows in the African Iboga tree, was popularised by scientific researcher Howard Lotsof in the 1960s after he found one dose completely cleared his heroin addiction.
“There have been cases reported of it aiding in drug withdrawal, cases linked to cocaine and heroin-type drugs… it supposedly reduces the severity of the withdrawal from those types of drugs,” says Community Alcohol and Drug Services senior addictions pharmacist Carina Walters.
But she adds while ibogaine is touted as a wonder drug by former addicts, it is not an enjoyable time for those who use it – many users have experienced hallucinations, nausea and other more significant side effects.
“There have been some reports of negative effects and some of those have been cardiac effects, and there have been previous reports of death as well,” she says.
In June a woman died at the Iboga clinic in Kaitaia, which uses the drug. It is not yet known what caused her death, but the case has been referred to the coroner. Iboga has suspended use of Ibogaine as it waits for the results of the inquiry.
The Drug Foundation has also lodged a complaint with the Health and Disabilities Commissioner – the ruling body for such clinics – over the woman’s death.
Director Ross Bell says ibogaine is not illegal in New Zealand and patients can import it with a prescription, but is wary of doctors and clinics like Iboga using the drug to treat addiction.
“My fear is that they’re targeting very vulnerable people who are seeing it as a miracle cure,” he says.
“[When promotion first started] there was kind of a roadshow and they were holding the roadshow in poorer Maori communities, playing on the idea that it was a traditional medicine, that it was herbal and safe, without being open and honest about the risk.”
The Drug Foundation wants to see prescriptions limited to psychiatrists, not doctors, and for the drug to be more tightly regulated.