Have you heard about Ibogaine?
What is ibogaine, how is it different from other substance disorder treatment modalities, and why should Vermont legalize its research and use?
Iboga, the plant that ibogaine comes from, is considered sacred in Gabon and Cameroon, where it grows. In the West, it has gained a reputation for its ability to treat opioid and other substance use disorders.
Ibogaine is not a maintenance drug like Suboxone or Methadone. Ideally, it is administered in a setting with medical support, after proper screening. It provides a relatively painless detoxification over a period of 36 to 48 hours. It gives a person a fresh start, reducing cravings and giving insight into past choices. Mental remodelling is essential for overcoming harmful habits, yet due to scientifically-dated opinions on the use of psychoactive compounds, ibogaine has had a hard time getting approved for use in the United States. We’d like to change that, starting here in Vermont.
Please join Vermonters for Ibogaine Research (VFIR) on Facebook.
In 2016 Reps. Paul Dame (sponsor) and Joseph Troiano (co-sponsor), introduced Vermont House bill H.387. This bill would have created a pilot program in Vermont for using ibogaine to treat substance use disorders. The bill was modeled on the medical marijuana dispensaries bill, so it needs a few tweaks to better reflect best practices for ibogaine treatment, but it was an important first step towards giving Vermont “another tool in the toolbox” for treating substance use disorders.
In 2018, a better bill, H.741, was introduced by Rep. Paul Dame. That bill established a public/private fund to support a clinical trial in Vermont. VFIR’s Bonnie Scott got to testify for the bill when the Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on it. Unfortuantely, the bill didn’t get out of that committee. If you are in Vermont, please ask your reps to re-introduce 2018’s H-741 so the process of allowing safe access to ibogaine can resume.
If you need help now, please seek it! ibogaine is not yet legal here. VFIR has created a map showing conventional treatment available in the state, so you should be able to find help nearby. VFIR map: where to find substance use disorder treatment in Vermont.
Why should Vermont lead the way?
In January of 2014, Governor Shumlin devoted his entire State of the State speech to the heroin problem in Vermont. He has pledged to work hard to address the problems that substance use disorders cause. He recognizes that treatment can be a better solution than prison, but also that treatment should be voluntary.
Vermont is a state that has led the U.S. on many political issues, from ending slavery, to same-sex marriage, to legalizing marijuana for medical use, although like ibogaine, marijuana is Federally classified as a Schedule One drug. Medical marijuana was authorized by the state legislature in 2004; eligible conditions were expanded in 2007. Dispensaries were legalized in 2011, and the number of patients who could sign up with them was expanded in 2014.
As with medical marijuana, we would not be setting off into uncharted waters. Many other countries have legalized marijuana and ibogaine for medical use, and for both, studies show that the Schedule One classification—meaning it has no medical value—is unwarranted.
April 13, SSDP symposium, Harm Reduction and Pop Culture Education, at Green Mountain College
1 Brennan Circle, Poultney, VT 05764
March 25, SSDP meeting at Green Mountain College
Video of the Ibogaine presentation