Thursday, August 4, 2016


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".


  1. I just read a Vice article about heroin use in Amsterdam. There, they have Heroin clinics were junkies can go and get free Heroin and get high whenever they want. They have set up an appointment and go on time or else they wont get any heroin. The heroin is synthetic and basically more pure than any other form of heroin you can find on the streets. Amsterdam had a very bad heroin epidemic in the 1980's. The government started helping the drug addicts, rather then arresting them and punishing them. Ever since they started doing this, the use of heroin has gone down dramatically. The junkies are out of sight from the public, and it gives the junkies a chance to think about something other then getting high. Crime rates have gone down because junkies don't have to steal DVD players to get money for heroin. Some junkies feel as though they have been forgotten by society and "flushed down the toilet". It seems like helping Junkies overcome there addiction, by giving them heroin and helping them find a purpose besides heroin, has helped the epidemic slow down.

  2. Wow Joe that is very interesting to hear. I can't imagine how giving drugs to a drug addict would help them but maybe they see the government as a friend in a sense? Kind of like how in my other post I said that I saw Professor Berg's deadline as an incentive to get all of my work done, to not let him down. Maybe in a way the fact that the government gives these people heroin in Amsterdam and then tries to help them, it is almost an incentive for the addicts to get better, and not let the government down after trying to help them! Thanks for sharing this, I'm going to look into it because it sounds so interesting.