Addiction scientists at Iboga treatment Center have found possible answer to the opioid epidemic

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How Psychedelic plant medicine can reshape the way we treat addiction.

Last year broke every overdose record on the books: An unprecedented death spike almost 30 percent across the board. For black Americans, that number was closer to 50. And while the American Society of Addiction Medicine has released a policy statement condemning "systemic racism in drug policy and addiction medicine" and demanding reforms, it’s still just business as usual for the 35 billion dollar a year treatment industry that relies on a treatment paradigm that was established three quarters of a century ago and has remained unchanged since 1949. That widely-replicated protocol, popularly referred to as the Minnesota Model, has been exhaustively studied by addiction scientists and has been found to be effective in only 8-12 percent of the people who successfully complete treatment. This means that for 88--92 percent of the people who are financially able to access services, most will fail -- and many will die. But researchers and drug policy experts say these grim statistics obscure an important and encouraging fact: Most addicts who undergo ibogaine detox survive their additions. They recover and go on to live full, happy and healthy lives.

"This is incredible news,” says Dr. Nick Boeving. "For clinicians and researchers like me who have been working in the trenches of treatment for the past twenty years, we’ve never seen results like this. And while ibogaine is not for everyone, its potential to interrupt addictions, reset the brain, unkink the knots of trauma, anxiety, and depression that keep people from maintaining lasting sobriety, and accelerate synaptogenesis and neurogenesis, ibogaine is the single best answer we have for the opioid epidemic. And this is something we need to be talking about."

Boeving, a Stanford-trained social scientist and addiction specialist who teaches psychology at Alef Trust and Liverpool John Moores University, has been researching and writing about psychedelic-assisted detox and plant medicine inclusive recovery for over fifteen years. In a recent peer-reviewed article published last year ( he found that addictions of all kinds are directly correlated with existential dread -- and recovery dependent on the successful metabolization of death anxiety. Ibogaine and other psychedelic therapies have been shown to be uniquely successful at alleviating death anxiety, which many researchers link to their success in treating addictions.

In a separate study published in 2015, economist Anne Case and Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton, established a link between the increase in deaths attributable to drug overdose, alcohol liver disease, and suicides between 1999 and 2013 with feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, and social inequality which they came to describe as deaths of despair (DoD) in their New York Times bestselling book Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism. According to the authors, “The increase in deaths of despair was almost all among those without a bachelor's degree. Those with a four-year degree are mostly exempt; it is those without the degree who are at risk.”

In other words, the age-old inequities of who-gets-how-much-of-what continue to shape the lives and life-spans of those without access to quality education and life saving services, including and especially quality mental health care. And yet according to a rising consensus among addiction researchers, that situation is changing -- and many of the top experts agree that ibogaine is the most economically sound and medically successful treatment for those in underserved and underprivileged communities who suffer from substance use disorder.

“It’s kind of ironic, really, “says Boeving, “that our last, best hope to turn the tide of the opioid epidemic and reverse the increase in deaths of despair comes from Africa, a continent which has been, and continues to be, systematically exploited by whites for hundreds of years.”

Ibogaine is the naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in an evergreen shrub native to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Congo and has been cultivated and utilized for thousands of years for its medicinal and other effects.

And yet in spite of the numerous studies conducted at many of the top universities in the country that show overwhelmingly the robust success of ibogaine for healing addictions, it is still unavailable in the US and is classified, ludicrousy, as a Schedule 1 narcotic, which is FDA language indicating a high potential for abuse. "This is just absurd. And not only that, it's unscientific and racist,” Boeving said. "I think it just exposes our own cultural prejudices about indigenous communities and reveals our naive and uneducated trust in a treatment industry that still calls these traditional medicines ‘drugs.’ These are not drugs. They are transformational catalysts that help people get better.”

Americans often see the negative side of addiction, drug-related crime, and people slumped in doorways and loved ones who are spiraling downward. What they don’t see are the successes. Finally, in the form of ibogaine, researchers are convinced that we have an answer to the opioid epidemic that is radically inclusive, socially responsible, and most importantly, works.

About Iboga Treatment Center:
Iboga Treatment Center is a collection of internationally recognized Ibogaine Treatment Centers for providing holistic, comprehensive, and integrative inpatient and outpatient services for individuals and families affected by addiction to fentanyl, alcohol, and other drugs. Our treatment center offers a spectrum of care, including medical detox, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, group therapy, telehealth options, and aftercare. We help people in early recovery build a firm foundation in sobriety, health, and wellness through our unique, clinically-proven, and evidence-based protocol that blends cutting-edge medical treatments, plant medicines, trauma therapies, and holistic modalities to treat those who need help with alcohol detox, opiate or heroin treatment, cocaine abuse, methamphetamine use, benzodiazepine or Xanax addiction, and many forms of pill or prescription medication addiction. Learn more about our Ibogaine treatment process at

written by
Nick Boeving, Ph.D.
LecturerMSc. in Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology
Validated by Liverpool John Moores University

Media Contact
Joseph Heinrith
877 876 4157
Iboga Treatment Center

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