Recently I discovered an episode of the television show "Vice" that related back to the lecture of slides on drugs. This episode titled "Addiction" shows an American man trying to kick his heroin abuse by using a hallucinogenic drug called ibogaine. In our slides, addiction is described as "dependence, which is an intense craving, seeking out, and using a drug". With this episode of Vice it is clear that many people struggle with their addiction to heroin, which is clearly supported with the presented fact of an over 90% relapse rate.
Ibogaine is a hallucinogen that shocks the body so much that it interrupts the body's addiction to heroin. Dimitri, a man who cures people of their addiction to heroin, explains that ibogaine interrupts physical dependency on opiates without withdrawal. Being a heroin and methadone addict for 20 years, he tried to get clean at least 50 times. Withdrawal syndrome is described in our lecture as a "drug-opposite effect characterized by unpleasant feelings that results from drug abstinence". Withdrawal syndrome and addiction, particularly to heroin, are clearly so powerful as seen from this video and the the percentage of those who relapse.
Ibogaine was legal until 1969, it is now illegal in the United States unlike most other countries. Although illegal, many people seek Dimitri out for his known use of ibogaine. This is because heroin is the most addictive drug on earth. Matt, the man in this episode trying to beat his addiction to heroin, agrees to go to Mexico where ibogaine is legal. Matt has tried to beat his addiction over 30 times in the past 10 years and nothing has ever worked. Taking the ibogaine is equal to only 15% of what the withdrawal would feel like at home, and last less than 24 hours unlike normal withdrawal which can last up to a week.
Reading about addiction, withdrawal syndrome, tolerance, etc, saddened and interested me at the same time. This episode brings to light the realities of addiction, but also presents hope towards curing it. I think it is sad that a drug like this, with such positive benefits, is illegal in the United States. Hopefully more people find out about ibogaine and pursue legalizing it if not at least taking advantage of its powerful healing affect. If any of you want to check out the episode, it is season 1, episode 7, titled "Addiction" of the HBO series "Vice".