NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A powerful but illegal drug has stirred new interest for its potential to help people kick addictions to things like drugs and alcohol.
The drug is called ibogaine, it is a psychedelic that some have said is a wonder drug with unprecedented success in treating addiction. Others warn that there are big risks associated with the rehab drug.
“I kept doing the drugs because I didn’t want to feel,” one addict said.
“I’d get home at night after work and just suck down another bottle of wine,” another added.
The desperate addicts, one hooked on drugs the other alcohol, wanted people to know about the extreme measures that they had to take to get clean.
“It was really a miracle,” one of the addicts said.
The so-called miracle was ibogaine, a powerful hallucinogen made from the bark of a tree that only grows in West Africa.
The addict in question had used cocaine for decades but his cravings disappeared after a single dose of ibogaine, CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois reported.
“That was just incredible. I had no desire to do cocaine,” he said.
The addict tapped into the ibogaine underground and was treated in his apartment.
After ingesting ibogaine users will typically experience hallucinations, some of which may be frightening. The experience is often followed by hours of vomiting.
The addict said the experience was unpleasant but when he recovered he was clean and was not experiencing any of the withdrawal symptoms that are typically associated with cocaine use.
“This is a remarkable medicine,” he said.
Former Addict Dimitri Mugianias claims to have seen ibogaine work again and again. He said that he has treated hundreds of addicts all of which have been detoxed without the excruciating symptoms of withdrawal.
“Not going through withdrawal is huge. It’s almost unbelievable,” one addict said.
One woman traveled to a treatment center in Mexico, where ibogaine is legal, to get treatment for her drinking problem.
Since receiving the treatment she said that she no longer craves alcohol.
“I could really take it or leave it. There’s no compulsion there that I need to have wine now,” she said.
However, doctors warn that ibogaine is illegal for a reason. Use of the drug has not been backed by any scientific studies and using it could be highly risky.
“Doing it by yourself or having someone come to your home or come to a hotel room I think is crazy because it’s not controlled and the drug is really dangerous. It can kill you. The drug can kill you,” one doctor said.
But former addicts say ibogaine worked them when nothing else would.
“I’m looking forward to a future where I can deal with my life without doing things that are self-destructive without ever using drugs again,” one former addict said.
The National Institute for Drug Abuse is funding trials next year on a synthetic drug that has a similar makeup to ibogaine.
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