Self-administering medication is risky
I’m feeling incredibly frustrated because I just got off the phone with a woman who’s looking to self-treat with Ibogaine to help her with her drinking problem.
Ibogaine treatment to overcome alcohol dependency
A woman in her late 50s reported drinking a liter of vodka every three days, as well as other drinks. She usually drinks alone and after a brief conversation she informed me that she had purchased HTl and TA online online.
She purchased 2 grams of HClL and 1 gram of TA for $500 and now she was looking for advice on self-dosing.
I explained to her that I could not legally, and more importantly, given the complexity of an Ibogaine treatment for alcohol, that I could not morally or ethically advise her to go ahead with her plan to self-treat with Ibogaine.
Bad advice that could have had catastrophic consequences
She was disappointed but informed me that she was given the following protocol for a “microdose.”
First, stop drinking for two days, then begin by taking 200 mg per day of total extract and 200 mg per day of HDL thereafter for 11 days. This could be a recipe for disaster.
It’s my opinion, and that of others, that someone drinking that amount of alcohol should stop drinking for at least 10 days prior to any treatment.
The risks of self-treating with Ibogaine
The risks of delirium tremor convulsions from abruptly stopping alcohol are high and once someone goes into those convulsions the chance of death is one in 10. It is widely believed that Ibogaine can exacerbate this condition.
Also, the dosage seemed very high and nothing close to what I consider to be a microdose. The resulting trip and lack of sleep, which would last for 11 days, and which she would undertake alone while detoxing from alcohol, is beyond dangerous.
A better course of action
My advice to her was not to do it, to seek professional help, and reach out to online and social media Ibogaine communities to get peer support.
I’m angry that the people at iboga World would be giving out such bad information out of ignorance and desire for profit.
I’m also disappointed in myself and others in this community for falling this woman and others like her for not giving folks an alternative, That is to say, we need to be providing information on self-dosing.
I’ve said before, and I have not changed my opinion, that I believe that Ibogaine should be readily available to anyone who wants it. But, like any drug, there are pluses and minuses, benefits and dangers, even deadly consequences.
I was interviewed for a few years back where I voiced this opinion. I was startled to hear from allies, including people who called themselves Harm Reductionist, that this was the exception and that Ibogaine should be tightly regulated.
These anti-prohibitionist Harm Reductionists were making some of the most hawkish drug war arguments against Harm Reduction in regards to Ibogaine.
“If we give them the information, then they’ll do it.“ We heard this in the early days of syringe exchange, that somehow providing somebody with a syringe and education would encourage drug use.
The argument of these Ibogaine advocates boils down to “just say no.” I believe that way of thinking is too dangerous.
It is true Ibogaine can be dangerous and people have died. This is also true with many drugs. The way that we, as Harm Reductionists, combat this is through information, education and empowering drug users to care for themselves and each other.
It should be noted that many people who argue against access to information are so-called “Ibogaine professionals.” Many of them come from the same population of drug users that have been so stigmatized but now with the mantles of “gatekeeper“ and expert and the warning that without their guidance and presence there could only be disaster.
There are many online sources offering iboga and Ibogaine, stating that self-administration is wanted, if not needed. There have been deaths, to be sure, but not the flood that the drug hysteria voices inside the community have warned.
Harm Reduction methods work
Regardless of the numbers, with the right information we could cut those deaths by using tried and proven harm-reduction methods, as has been proven with other drugs.
That the prohibitionist position has been taken up so readily shows the seductive power of such a position.
But that power is not self-justifying.
I believe that the most compelling and interesting aspects of the Ibogaine scene is not the expansion of boutique clinics or medical centers offering treatment. It is the burgeoning of the so-called “underground“ scene of folks self-treating or treating families and friends.
As the overdose crisis continues and the hype around the so-called “Opioid crisis“ gets louder, more and more people will be seeking alternative treatment modalities, such as Ibogaine clinics, which the majority of users cannot afford. As a result, desperate people go to whatever measures they feel they must, and I believe it is their right to do so. It is time that we as a community create online sites, videos, and printed information informing drug users about the dangers and risk and offering information towards safer self-treating.