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Can Opioid Addiction Be Managed with Psychedelic Drugs

Posted on :  November 25th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Opioid addiction is a serious problem all over North America. In the United States, researchers are working on a variety of different ways to help those who have developed an addiction from OxyContin, heroin, or Vicodin. For many years, rehab and methadone have been the standards of treatment. But, some addicts have not had much success or they have needed the treatments for an excessively long time. To replace the standard treatment, researchers are looking at the effects of psychedelic substances, specifically a substance called ibogaine to fight opioid addictions.

How Many People Are Addicted to Opioids

The United States Center for Disease Control claims that more than 2 million people have an addiction to prescription and hard drugs containing opioids. This problem has created epidemics in some of the state in the US. Just a few years ago in the US, there were over 24,000 deaths from taking heroin or prescription opioid medications. This problem needs to be dealt with because the troubles in the US are also happening in Canada.

What Happens During a Standard Treatment Program

The current detoxification program usually involves the addicts spending time in a supervised program, which can last a week or longer. Then, the recovering addicts receive a prescription to methadone or a similar drug that manages withdrawal symptoms. Some have to manage an abstinence program that can be painful. In the US, some treatment centers are seeing 25 percent success rate and some are seeing about 90 percent of addicts return for a second round of treatment. These unfortunate numbers are forcing the healthcare community to look for another treatment and in some cases the treatment is in the form of a psychedelic drug.

How Does Ibogaine Work

The drug that is showing up in several studies is from a West African plant. Ibogaine is found in the root bark. The other psychedelic drug that is showing up is psilocybin, which is commonly found in psychedelic mushrooms. These two drugs can help people manage their addictions to both smoking and/or alcohol. In a small study of 15 chronic smokers, 12 of them successfully quit using psilocybin. In another small study, a group of people reduced their drinking of alcoholic beverages decrease by 50 percent.

How Was It Discovered to Help

Ibogaine was not a drug that was on the minds of researchers. It was classified decades ago as a Schedule 1 substance because it had no medical use and was highly addictive. In the 1960s, a man addicted to heroin tried ibogaine. After taking it for the first time, he realized that he no longer felt the need for opioids. Six of his addicted friends also tried it and all but one quit heroin. He has continued to advocate for the medical community to begin a formal research program to see if the drug could be used around the globe.

Why Is It Not Approved for Use

The problem with ibogaine is that is a controlled substance that is illegal to own and use. There were some underground studies conducted on it, and some of the subjects died. Eventually, the National Institute on Drug Abuse did decide to research it, but the study never occurred because there was not enough money.

Should It Be Regulated for Detox?

Currently, there are several organizations that are pushing for a real study on ibogaine. Opiate addictions are not easy to treat, so specialists need to have several options at their fingertips. Addicts can be desperate for something to help them and ibogaine could be the answer to many problems. There are currently only three medications that have been approved for treatment in the United States and not all of them work for every patient.

If you have any questions about treatment options, please contact us at Towards Recovery Clinics via email: or phone: 905-527-2042.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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