Even before addiction began to be studied as a science, there have always been people looking for a quick cure. Before treatment facilities and 12-step groups and the idea of psychiatric therapy, people were often desperate to find something to help their loved ones who were being destroyed by alcoholism. Towards the end of the 19th century, a doctor became famous for claiming he had found the cure to alcoholism—an injection of double chloride of gold taken into the bloodstream four times a day. This did little more than to poison his patients. After the turn of the century, doctors began experimenting with many other drugs. Heroin and cocaine were even experimented with as a way to rid people of a dependence on alcohol. Obviously, none of these cure alls did any lasting good.
Today, the generally accepted treatment for addiction and alcoholism incorporates a number of elements. Namely individual and group therapy, some kind of support network such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and absolute abstinence. Yet even now, people have not given up hope for an easy cure for alcoholism.
This leads us to Ibogaine—a psychotropic drug which is processed from a family of plants found in various parts of the world, from Africa to South America. In the short term Ibogaine cause hallucinations, nausea, and disassociation. Yet there are some doctors who believe that it has therapeutic affects for the treatment of addiction to narcotics such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Some doctors believe that Ibogaine inhibits the repuptake of serotonin and that after a single session, the patient will be cured of their obsession over drugs and alcohol.
The problem is there is no real proof to back up these claims. Although some studies have been conducted, clinical trials have only been conducted on a handful of patients, with varying levels of success. And because Ibogaine can be neurotoxic at high dosages, there are even some instances of death occurring from treatment.
The FDA has also classified Ibogaine as a Schedule I drug; placing it in the same category as heroin, ecstasy, and many of the other drugs that Ibogaine seeks to treat. Although it is illegal in the United States, it is still available in many other countries and thousands of people have sought out this reputed treatment for addiction. Yet for the millions who have worked hard to put together a program of abstinence one day at a time, Ibogaine presents an obvious problem. The idea that you can cure drug addiction by taking a different drug is a logical fallacy for many in recovery and the doctors and clinicians who have helped save their lives.
No one is saying that therapy and treatment are easy. But many of the best things in life aren’t easy. They must be worked at and earned. Those people who allowed a doctor to inject them with gold four times a day may have had not other option. But the treatment of addiction has changed in the last century. Today there are recovery centers in every state and 12 step meetings in most cities. There are entire networks of therapists, doctors, and other recovering addicts to help people get started on the road to recovery. So just ask anyone with two, or five, or twenty years sober. Recovery doesn’t happen after a single session of hallucinogens. It happens one day at a time.