New Approaches More Awareness Greater Access
Given the pervasiveness of discrimination, what can be done for minority communities to give more people struggling with addiction access to the treatment they need?
For starters, healthcare providers need relevant training to develop better communication and culturally sensitive, non-discriminatory care.
Did you know that one distinctive characteristic of the heroin epidemic in the African-American community is that unlike white suburbias opioids-to-heroin pathway addicts are much less likely to become addicted to heroin through prescription opioids. Why is that? Multiple studies show that doctors are much less likely to prescribe opioid painkillers to blacks than to whites for the same health issues. Theres a well-known phenomenon that theres less opioids available in segregated minority communities, Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health, tells Frontline. You cant find them in the pharmacies. Theres less medical access.2
Secondly, the black community needs considerably more programs aimed at mental health awareness and addiction literacy. There are so many inroads to awareness in schools, in churches, in law enforcement, in the courts, in community organizations but real change will require utilization of all these resources and new ones. After all, awareness is the first step toward eliminating the stigma of addiction.
Mood And Craving Measures
The depressive symptoms were measured using the Beck Depression Inventory version II , Profile of Moods and Symptoms Checklist-90 scales . Subjects scores from the Beck Depression Inventory, POMS, SCL-90 and the HCQ-29 and CCQ-45 craving subscales were analyzed by primary drug of abuse across treatment phase . A repeated measures mixed model analysis of variance with time post-treatment on Days 5 and Day 30 was performed with days as a repeated measure on subject with the change from baseline score as the dependent variable. A compound symmetric covariance model was used to control for the correlation between the two repeated measures . Patients with incomplete data were included in the analyses, after assessment of the data to determine whether missing data were informative or not. Missing data by excluding patients with incomplete data or imputing data was examined and ruled out as potentially producing biased results by comparing the mean change from baseline for post treatment discharge and 30 day follow up assessments. For all analyses, the criterion for significance was p 0.05, two-tailed.
Symptoms Of Continuing Legacy Of Oppression
The crisis facing Indigenous Americans has also been overlooked and misunderstood, said Melissa Walls, an indigenous addiction expert who is the director of the Great Lakes Hub for the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in Duluth Minnesota.
Pharmaceutical companies agreed to a $590m settlement with Indigenous American tribes this month, over claims that the companies targeted sales of opioid pills, such as Oxycontin, fueled waves of addiction and overdose deaths that have hit Indigenous communities particularly hard.
The data shows Indigenous Americans have had overdose death rates competing with those of whites since the rise of prescription opioids in the early 2000s and have a 2020 rate well above those of other racial groups at 41 deaths per 100,000 people.
But Walls said the roots of the crisis among tribal groups goes back much further to first contacts with Europeans that began the displacement of Indigenous people from their tribal lands, and left many Indigenous Americans disenfranchised.
This is just the teeny-tiny top of the iceberg of a lot of historical trauma and structural racism that goes back to how this country was founded and how Indigenous people have been treated since colonizers arrived, Walls said. These are just symptoms of a much bigger historical legacy of oppression that continues today.
Every single native community I have worked with shares one common answer to these issues and that is reclaiming our culture
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Miracle Cure Or Dangerous Drug
Despite the encouraging results from Lotsofs work, ibogaine remains controversial and illegal in the United States. Although it seems to subdue harmful drug cravings, ibogaine can also sometimes be fatal.
The Guardian estimated that about one in 400 people who take ibogaine are at risk of death. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as pre-existing heart conditions, seizures that happen due to withdrawal from other drugs, or the use of ibogaine while also using opioids.
Still, many believe that ibogaines potential merits further research. Some are angry that the NIDA appears less than enthusiastic about ibogaine and have even alleged that the NIDA is part of a wider government conspiracy to keep people addicted to substances like heroin.
People can make any kind of assertion that theyd like, but we are constrained by the truth,said Vocci. Wed love to find a cure for drug abuse. Then we could move on to something else.
Herbert D. Kleber, the director of the division on substance abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University, agrees.
A number of deaths have been associated with its use, especially to treat opioid withdrawal and dependence, Kleber said.
Edward Conn, a psychotherapist in the U.K., thinks that ibogaine has been oversold as a miracle drug. How many official clinics exist? Conn asked. None. Ask yourself why.
Treatment For Opiate Addiction
There are many treatment options to choose from, but research suggests the most effective form of treatment for Opiate addiction is inpatient detox followed by inpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab centers have specialized programs for individuals suffering from this type of substance use disorder. These programs help patients dig deep within themselves to uncover the root cause of their drug use. Knowing what caused patients to use drugs or alcohol in the first place will help prevent future triggers while in recovery.
Many individuals quickly find that the rewards of progressing through a treatment program far outweigh the high they formerly gained from drug use.
Featured Centers Offering Opiate Addiction Treatment
Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional: February 14, 2019
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Mkultra: The Cias Mind Control Experiments
One of the most fascinating rumors surrounding ibogaine is that the CIA may have attempted to harness its powers as a tool of warfare.
During the CIAs MKUltra experiments conducted between 1953 and 1973, the agency searched for a psychological advantage in the Cold War.
CIA scientists theorized that psychedelic drugs could be used for mind control, intelligence gathering, and psychological torture. They believed that the Soviet Union might already be close to mastering mind control and American spies and scientists wanted the same kind of power.
Ibogaines unique properties made it a compelling candidate.
Wikimedia CommonsA redacted document from the CIAs MKUltra experiments, which survived destruction.
When a person takes a dose of ibogaine, they go through three stages.
In the first stage, known as the acute phase , the users visual and physical perception begins to change. Then, during the second stage , the subject closes their eyes and experiences vivid hallucinations that are similar to a lucid dream.
During this phase, people report intense hallucinations, feelings, and changes in perception of time and space. Common hallucinations include meeting with transcendent beings and reliving past memories.
Finally, stage three involves a deep state of introspection where a person re-evaluates their life and past choices.
Whatever the case, well never know for sure since most of the MKUltra documents were either destroyed or redacted.
Dying To Get Clean: Is Ibogaine The Answer To Heroin Addiction
Ibogaine is a drug harvested from the roots of a plant found in Gabon. When all else fails, some heroin addicts have used it to conquer their cravings. But is it effective and are the serious risks it carries worth it?
At the age of 12, Jay was smoking cigarettes and weed by 16, he was snorting coke two years later he was taking heroin and crack but he says by the time he left university he was a functional drug addict, able to get up in the morning, put a suit on, travel from his parents home in north London to his job as a banker in the City.
Then his marriage broke down his health deteriorated he got hooked on the powerful painkiller Tramadol following an unrelated operation on his stomach and when doctors stopped that dose, he replaced it with heroin.
Jay checked into a £10,000-a-week rehab centre in Thailand in 2016 which kept him clean for a while, but then he started using again. A friend had told him about ibogaine, a drug from an obscure African plant that he said would enable him to come off heroin without the lengthy, painful withdrawal and stay off. It would help him understand why he was an addict, his friend insisted, that hed Talk to God.
Ibogaine, Jay believed, was his only hope.
According to the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance, which publishes research and information on ibogaine, this ancestor worship by Gabonese tribes holds that by learning the language of the spirits of things it is possible to communicate with God.
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Though Ibogaine Has Helped Some People Who Are Addicted To Opioids The Drug Remains Controversial And Illegal In The United States
Anyone who struggles with opioid addiction knows how difficult it is to quit. Thats why some activists are frustrated that so few people have heard of ibogaine a naturally occurring psychoactive substance that some say can help reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.
An herbal psychedelic with a rich history, ibogaine was first used by the Pygmy tribes of Central Africa for spiritual rituals. Then, French explorers brought it back home, introducing ibogaine to the rest of the world.
Wikimedia CommonsThe powdered root of the iboga tree, which is where ibogaine comes from.
Since its discovery, ibogaine has been used for a variety of purposes. Some have used it recreationally. Others like the CIA are rumored to have investigated it as a potential tool of warfare.
But ibogaines most compelling use may be that it can help addicts quit using opioids. So, why havent we heard more about it?
Ayahuasca A ‘powerful Tool’
Dr. Kenneth Tupper, who worked with Thomas on the B.C. study, calls ayahuasca a “powerful tool,” one he studied in depth during his time as a drug policy expert for the B.C. Health Ministry.
But Tupper, now a director at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, cautions that it must be used wisely.
“There’s an optimal setting,” he said.
Tupper said the chanting, tobacco smudging and other ceremonial rituals are a crucial part of experiencing the full effect of ayahuasca.
Drinking ayahuasca recreationally or “treating it like a toy” probably won’t work, he said.
Like Tupper, Gerald Thomas urges those bent on trying ayahuasca to seek out an expert.
“I wouldn’t recommend doing it alone,” he said. “It’s really scary. It takes you into your deepest fears.”
Ayahuasca temporarily alters brain function, Thomas explains.In everyday perception, the brain’s frontal cortex does most of the work, which creates a “normal” awareness. But psychedelics disrupt that hierarchy, allowing other aspects of consciousness to work their way to the surface.
Once accessible, patients can then confront old emotional wounds. “You have to feel it to heal it,” Thomas said.
But not everyone is convinced.
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Substance Abuse And Changes In The Brain
Long term abuse of any substance produces changes in the brain that affect the way people experience pleasure and make decisions. When functioning normally, the brain produces dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters that communicate with neurons to develop moods, emotions, thought processes, and behaviors. Since addictive substances produce an overflow of dopamine and stop the reuptake of the chemical, people eventually stop producing these feel-good hormones and chemicals on their own. Instead, they depend on the substance to feel good.
In the past, addiction was commonly thought of as a choice. However, with growing evidence among the scientific community of how substance abuse changes the brain, addiction is widely accepted as a disease today. Like other diseases, there are underlying causes of addiction, symptoms that one cannot control, and treatments that really work.
Mechanism Of Action Of Biomolecules In Nutmeg And Mace
Ibogaine blocks nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, blocks the influx of ion through ganglionic nicotinic channels, inhibits nicotine-mediated release of catecholamines . Ibogaine blocks uptake of both dopamine and serotonin, and binds to cocaine site of serotonin transporter. It prevents cocaine-induced increase in serotonin levels in the brain . Ibogaine also reduces the release of dopamine induced by nicotine, cocaine, and morphine . It causes the release of cytoplasmic dopamine in the striatum.
Ibogaine competitively inhibit NMDA receptor, an action that is voltage-dependent. Ibogaine treatment increases levels of neurotensin in the striatum, substantia nigra, and nucleus accumbens. Ibogaine stimulates k and µ opioid receptors. Noribogaine is a full agonist at µ receptor, stimulating G-protein activity. Coronaridine has affinity for µ receptors. Coronaridine and tabernanthine has affinity for receptors while ibopamine, coronaridine, and tabernanthine has affinity for k receptors . Ibogaine binds to 1 and 2 receptors, voltage-gated Na+ channels. Tabernanthine blocks Ca2+ channel. Noribogaine stimulates phosphoinositide hydrolysis .
James M. Ritter DPhil FRCP HonFBPhS FMedSci, inRang & Dale’s Pharmacology, 2020
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Ibogaine Promising But Toxic Researcher Says
It has also been reported to induce dream-like states and flashbacks to childhood memories that can help a person meditate on past trauma.
But Haden says despite its benefits, he is no longer interested in studying the drug.
Ibogaine is too toxic. It has a chance of death, and we can’t take that risk.- Mark Haden, public health researcher
“Ibogaine is too toxic,” he says. “It has a chance of death, and we can’t take that risk.”
Ibogaine can decrease a person’s heart rate, resulting in cardiac arrest in some cases. At least 19 deaths have been linked to ibogaine worldwide since 1990, according to a 2012 study.
Health Canada lists seven reported cases of adverse reactions to the drug, which range from vomiting to seizures.
A 2016 case study co-authored by Dr. Evan Wood, director of the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, noted that although ibogaine appears to chemically reduce cravings for opiates, scientists don’t really understand how the drug works on the brain.
Documentary Films About Iboga
- Iboga, les hommes du bois sacré
- In this French-language film, Gilbert Kelner documents modern Bwiti practices and Babongo perspectives on iboga.Odisea broadcast a Spanish-dubbed version titled Los hombres de la madera .
- Ibogaine: Rite of Passage
- Directed by Ben Deloenen. A 34-year-old heroin addict undergoes ibogaine treatment with Dr Martin Polanco at the Ibogaine Association, a clinic in Rosarito Mexico. Deloenen interviews people formerly addicted to heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, who share their perspectives about ibogaine treatment. In Gabon, a Babongo woman receives iboga root for her depressive malaise. Deloenen visually contrasts this Western, clinical use of ibogaine with the Bwiti use of iboga root bark, but emphasizes the Western context.
- In this episode of the English documentary series Tribe, presenter Bruce Parry ingests iboga during his time with the Babongo. BBC 2 aired the episode on January 25, 2005.
- This documentary depicts the battle of an opioid addict against her addiction through psychedelic and iboga treatments.
- “Synthetic Ibogaine Natural Tramadol”
- In this episode of the American documentary series Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia, presenter Hamilton Morris joins an Iboga ceremony in Gabon and later interviews Chris Jenks who shows a method to produce Ibogoine from Voacanga africana.
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Private Vancouver Clinic Treated 200 People
Trevor Millar, who founded the Liberty Root clinic in 2013, says he has always taken extensive measures to prevent harm to his clients.
“We’re trying to do everything legitimately,” Millar said.
He says his patients were required to submit electrocardiogram results and were monitored by a registered nurse after ingesting the capsules of powdered iboga root he provided.
He recently decided to close his clinic but says in the time it was operating, he administered ibogaine to about 200 people. Only one person ended up in the emergency room, but that individual submitted fraudulent ECG results, Millar said.
Millar says others have left his program feeling like they’ve made progress in tackling their addiction.
One of them was the 25-year-old son of Colleen Hanson. The Calgary man was addicted to fentanyl, and as with Michaelides, conventional therapies weren’t helping. Hanson says ibogaine saved her son’s life.
“When I picked up from the airport, he had rosy cheeks and a smile on his face,” she said. “And a light in his eyes I hadn’t seen in two years since he started taking fentanyl.”
Hanson had another son who died from an opiate overdose. He had been living at a sober living facility but had also signed up to attend Liberty Root for ibogaine treatment.
“The weekend my son died, 20 other people died. I thought I was putting him somewhere safe,” Hanson said. “The problem is just so huge. Ibogaine is the only answer.”
What Is African Dream Root
African dream root, also known as Silene undulata or Silenecapensis, is a small perennial herb native to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It typically grows in open forests and grasslands.
The Xhosa and Zulu peoples of South Africa prize the roots of this plant. People have long used African dream root to treat various health conditions, such as fevers and delirium .
The Xhosa people refer to the plant as undlela zimhlophe, which means the way or path of white things or symbols .
Research suggests that the vivid or lucid dream-inducing properties of African dream root come from compounds called saponins that are present in the root .
You can buy African dream root in three main forms: the root on its own, a powder made from the ground-up root, and capsules containing the root powder.
African dream root is an herb native to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The Xhosa and Zulu peoples of South Africa have long used it to treat fever and delirium and stimulate lucid or vivid dreams.
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