Have you heard about Ibogaine?
What is ibogaine, how is it different from other substance disorder treatment modalities, and why should Vermont legalize its research and use?
Tabernanthe Iboga, the plant that ibogaine comes from, is considered sacred in Gabon and Cameroon, where it grows. In the West, ibogaine has gained a reputation for its ability to treat opioid and other substance use disorders.
Ibogaine is not a maintenance drug like methadone or buprenorphine. Ideally, it is administered in a setting with medical support, after proper screening. It provides a relatively painless detoxification over a period of 36 to 48 hours. It gives a person a fresh start, reducing cravings and giving insight into past choices. Mental remodelling is essential for overcoming harmful habits, yet due to scientifically outdated opinions on the use of psychoactive compounds, ibogaine has had a hard time getting approved for use in the United States. We'd like to change that, starting here in Vermont.
April 2016 update: Health and Human Services committee will hear testimony for including the Vermont ibogaine pilot progam into this yaar's opioid treatment bill
We are now on the schedule for Tuesday, April 19, in a session of testimony on S.243 that starts at 2:30m. We are not the only group presenting, but will get 15 minutes some time between then and adjournment at 5pm.
Vermont legislative committee meetings schedule is at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/schedule/masterschedule.cfm
January 2016 update: There is a new bill!
In 2016, Representative Paul Dame and several other sponsors introduced Vermont House bill H.741. This bill would create an opening for a pilot study in Vermont for using ibogaine to treat substance use disorders, and an open fund where both public appropriations and private donations can be collected to fund the program. VFIR hopes that this bill passes, and that a qualified team can quickly be found to apply to run the study and the clinic. Any help towards finding them, as well as the grants and donors to start treating Vermonters as soon as possible is welcome. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suggestions.
2015 Vermont bill H.387 now superseded by 2016's H.741
Thanks to Reps. Paul Dame (sponsor) and Joseph Troiano (co-sponsor), Vermont House bill H.387 was introduced. This bill would create a pilot program in Vermont for using ibogaine to treat substance use disorders. The bill was modeled on the medical marijuana dispensaries bill, and needed some changes to better reflect best practices for ibogaine treatment, but it was an important first step towards giving Vermont "another tool in the toolbox" for treating substance use disorders.
You can track the bill's progress and read the text here: http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2016/H.387
Please join Vermonters for Ibogaine Research (VFIR) on Facebook. We'd like your suggestions on improving the bill. We will also need people to contact their legislators in support of an ibogaine pilot program in Vermont.
Why Vermont should include ibogaine in its opioid treatment strategy: four pages so far
If you need help now, please seek it! ibogaine is not yet legal here. VFIR has created a map showing conventional treatment available in the state, so you should be able to find help nearby. VFIR map: where to find substance use disorder treatment in Vermont
Why should Vermont lead the way?
In January of 2014, Governor Shumlin devoted his entire State of the State speech to the heroin problem in Vermont. He has pledged to work hard to address the problems that substance use disorders cause. He recognizes that treatment can be a better solution than prison, but also that treatment should be voluntary.
Vermont is a state that has led the U.S. on many political issues, from ending slavery, to same-sex marriage, to legalizing marijuana for medical use, although like ibogaine, marijuana is Federally classified as a Schedule One drug. Medical marijuana was authorized by the state legislature in 2004; eligible conditions were expanded in 2007. Dispensaries were legalized in 2011, and the number of patients who could sign up with them was expanded in 2014.
As with medical marijuana, we would not be setting off into uncharted waters. Many other countries have legalized marijuana and ibogaine for medical use, and for both, studies show that the Schedule One classification—meaning it has no medical value—is unwarranted. (Pending legislation in the U.S. Senate may remove marijuana from Schedule One in the very near future.)
Information about substance use disorder treatment in Vermont
Report to the Vermont Legislature: The Opiod Addiction Treatment System (PDF)
The hub and spoke system is comprised of seven hubs, or regional centers, throughout the state that provide medication-assisted treatment along with counseling and other services, as well as spokes, local doctors who also treat addicts and link them with medication and counseling.
Vermont's Drug War, in the media:Times-Argus: Opiates fuel DCF caseload surge (March 11, 2015)
Burlington Free Press: Maple Leaf Farm's tax exempt status threatened (February 27, 2015)
Burlington Free Press: Police respond to suspected heroin overdose (February 7, 2015)
Burlington Free Press: Three arrested, charged with drug conspiracy (February 3, 2015)
Vermont Biz: Pharmacist convicted of unlawful possession of narcotic drugs
Burlington Free Press: State cites progress in opiate fight (January 21, 2015)
Seven Days: One Year Later: Was Opiate Addiction Addressed? (January 14, 2015)
WCAX: Colchester cop facing gun, drug charges going to rehab (November 14, 2014)
Burlington Free Press: PDF: ATF special agent outlines case against Tyler Kinney (November 12, 2014)
Seven Days: Another Wave of Fentanyl Overdoses Hits Vermont (November 5, 2014)
Burlington Free Press: Doctors slow to join program to treat addicts (October 31, 2014)
Seven Days: Leader of Rutland Heroin Ring Sentenced by Federal Judge (October 31, 2014)
Business Week: Vermont Quits War on Drugs to Treat Heroin Abuse as Health Issue (August 21, 2014)
WPTZ: Governor kicks off opiate addiction forum (June 16, 2014)
Burlington Free Press: New England governors to hold drug summit (June 10, 2014)
Vermont Biz: Car magnate Ernie Boch Jr donates $50,000 to Vermont addiction recovery centers (May 6, 2014)
Burlington Free Press: Expert: No simple answers to heroin problem (May 5, 2014)
WPTZ: Drug meant for addicts [Suboxone] being abused on street (May 1, 2014)
Valley News: Claremont Hosts Drug Abuse Forum (April 30, 2014>
WPTZ: Man requires 5 doses of opiate antidote to reverse OD (April 30, 2014)
WPTZ: Fletcher-Allen sees spike in heroin cases (April 29, 2014)
Valley News: Vt., Others Rebel Against Painkiller [Zohydro] (April 5, 2014)
Rolling Stone: The New Face of Heroin (April 3, 2014) with the controversial 'sapper shooting up' graphic
VT Digger: Bain Capital company buys Brattleboro methadone clinic (March 24, 2014)
NY Times: Letter to the Editor from the Bennington Town Manager in response to their March 6 article (March 20, 2014)
VT Digger: Opiate addiction treatment hubs save money, state says (March 20, 2014)
Rutland Herald: Community partnerships effective in battle with addiction's root cause (March 19, 2014)
Rutland Herald: National media puts Rutland's drug problem center stage (March 17, 2014)
Rutland Herald: Statewide drug diversion standards near (March 17, 2014)
Valley News: Rehab Favored In Vt. Drug Cases (March 17, 2014) 'imprisonment in Vermont costs more than $1,000 a week, while diversion treatment programs cost about $136 a week'
NY Times: Letter to the Editor from Bennington students in response to their March 6 article (March 16, 2014)
Burlington Free Press: Vermont fights drug crimes with treatment, not jail (March 16, 2014)
Times-Argus: Anti-addiction bill emerges from Senate (March 14, 2014)
Al Jazeera: In taking on its heroin crisis, Vermont shoots itself in the foot (March 12, 2014)
Vermont Biz: Most of Shumlin's opiate addiction agenda realized (March 12, 2014)
Vermont Biz: Lawmakers look at options for decreasing the prison population in Vermont (March 12, 2014)
NY Times: Heroin Scourge Overtakes a 'Quaint' Vermont Town (March 5, 2014)
NY Times: A Call to Arms on a Vermont Heroin Epidemic (February 27, 2014)
WCAX: Vt.'s heroin addiction aftermath: Babies on opiates, Part 1 (February 19, 2014) and Part 2 (February 27, 2014)
Seven Days: Video: Shumlin Talks Heroin on ABC's 'This Week' (February 10, 2014)
Seven Days: Diagnosing the Drug Deal: Did Shumlin Overstate the Case for Vermont's Opiate "Crisis"? (January 15, 2014)
Seven Days: Powder Trail: Tracing Vermont's Heroin Epidemic to Its Sources (May 15, 2013)
April 13, 2014 SSDP symposium, Harm Reduction and Pop Culture Education, at Green Mountain College