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Ibogaine emerges as the new drug to overcome opioid addiction

04-17-18 Category: Substance Abuse

Ibogaine emerges as the new drug to overcome opioid addiction

When Evelyn’s heroin-taking habit started getting out of control, she decided to try the new drug ibogaine, a naturally occurring psychoactive substance traditionally used for ritualistic purposes by the tribal groups like Bwitis, after someone told her about its efficacy in curbing opioid addiction. She travelled all the way to Mexico and booked a bed in a seedy clinic near the United States and Mexico border. Like Evelyn, many Americans have in recent times expressed interest in experimenting with the above option to alleviate their opioid withdrawals and addiction. Another factor responsible for accelerating the above trend is that ibogaine requires only one-time treatment compared to other replacement therapies.

Derived from the roots of the iboga plant, ibogaine has been banned in the U.S. and several countries across the world due to its high potential for abuse. Despite being classified as a Schedule I substance with no medical use, it is supposed to contain certain anti-addictive properties that could come handy in controlling opioid addiction. Due to the mushrooming of the unregulated clinics offering ibogaine treatment in Mexico, many Americans in the clutches of heroin and prescription drug abuse are flocking to these clinics to seek cure. For many, this is the last shot at getting back a normal life.

Despite increased debate over the usefulness of such clinics, it is interesting to note that not everyone from the medical fraternity is opposed to ibogaine. Many believe that the hostility against ibogaine is unwarranted; they suspect that laxity toward psychedelic substances can lead to a situation similar to the 1960s when psychedelic abuse was common. The efficacy of the drug in diminishing the severity of opioid withdrawal pangs has been tested, and the results were surprisingly positive.

Determining contraindications to ibogaine essential to lower fatal consequences

A study, funded by the Multidisciplinary Association on Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), found that around 90 percent of the participants exhibited drastic improvements in their peak withdrawal symptoms.  The severity of the addiction symptoms reduced massively throughout the 12-month follow-up period, leading to improvement in relationships with loved ones. However, it becomes difficult to determine the knowledge and expertise levels of such unregulated clinics, increasing the risk of mishaps and adverse consequences.

In recent times, there has been an alarming increase in the deaths and other complications related to ibogaine use. Some of the fatalities occurred due to the propensity of ibogaine to cause cardiac arrhythmias, a condition wherein the heart’s normal rhythm is disrupted. Looking at the fact that a number of patients reportedly die within 72 hours of taking ibogaine, it is necessary to determine the contraindications to ibogaine treatment, such as cardiac and liver conditions. Therefore, one can say that this wonder drug is not without risks. Another report looking into the autopsy and toxicological data of people who died of overdosing found traces of ibogaine in their system, which is counterproductive.

Despite its popularity among people suffering from opioid addiction, even the staunchest proponents would agree that it is quite risky to use the drug without evaluating its repercussions or looking in depth into its hallucinogenic properties.

Timely intervention is key to recovery

America is grappling with the most serious “public health emergency” in the form of opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, there seems to be no respite for the ordinary citizen, as no day passes without an adverse event being reported by the authorities. Apart from ibogaine, whose veracity is yet to be tested, there are multiple treatment options available to those in need. Timely intervention is important for successfully treating an opioid addiction. If you have a loved one grappling with opioid addiction, do not fret. Seek immediate help from a credible rehab center in your vicinity.

Sovereign Health is the leading substance abuse treatment provider based out of San Clemente, California. We offer various treatment options, including neurotransmitter restoration therapy, as per the need of the patient. Call at our 24/7 helpline number to know more about our intensive outpatient programs.  You can even chat online with one of our addiction experts for further information on other intensive outpatient treatment programs.

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