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Editor, The Konformist
Hallucinogen May Cure Drug Addiction
Posted: February 18, 2004
BAY AREA (KRON) -- Drug addiction has been the plague of modern
America. But that could now change forever. What started as a rumor
may now actually be an incredible breakthrough in the battle against
addictions of all kinds.
Ibogaine has a number of strikes against it:
It doesn't come from a modern laboratory, but from an ancient plant.
It was discovered not by a scientist, but by a heroin addict.
It is mildly hallucinogenic and completely illegal in the United
However, when it comes to curing addiction, a reputable scientist
believes ibogaine is nothing short of a miracle. "I didn't believe it
when I first heard about ibogaine. I thought it was something that
needed to be debunked," admits Dr. Deborah Mash, professor of
Neurology and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at University of
Dr. Mash is one of the few scientists in the world to study ibogaine,
a mild hallucinogen that comes from the root of a shrub found in West
Africa and was rumored to have the amazing ability to help drug
addicts kick their addiction.
"This didn't come from the Salk Institute, this didn't come from the
Scripps Institute. This came from a junkie who took a dose to get
high himself. So the original observation came from the underground,"
says Dr. Mash.
Observations from this particular underground are not likely to gain
the respect of mainstream society, and ibogaine was no exception.
That first report came in 1962. But decades would pass with little
scientific investigation. There were decades during which the cost of
addiction in terms of medical care, lost productivity, crime and
incarceration rose to $160 billion a year.
The human toll was impossible to calculate.
Patrick Kroupa was a heroin addict for 16 of his 35 years. "It was a
very high level of desperation. I had been pretty successful in my
life, I had accomplished a lot of things I wanted to do, and then
repeatedly I just watched everything burst into flames and
disintegrate because I could not stay off heroin," confesses
Patrick. "It gets very tiring living like a slave because you keep
chasing this and it's like you're not getting high, it's just 'I must
do this every single day just to get normal so I can function.'"
Like most addicts, Patrick tried to quit. But treatment for addiction
is notoriously ineffective. Only one in ten addicts manages to return
to a drug-free life. Most stay dependent on illegal drugs or their
legal substitutes, like methadone.
"And I was a spectacular failure at every possible treatment
modality, every paradigm, every detox, every therapy, nothing ever
worked," admits Patrick.
Even as Patrick Kroupa despaired of ever kicking heroin, Dr. Mash was
petitioning the Federal Food and Drug Administration to allow a
scientific test of ibogaine, which by this time had been classified
as a "schedule one" drug on a par with heroin. In 1993, the FDA
approval came through.
"We were established, we had a team of research scientists, doctors,
clinicians, psychiatrists, toxicologists and we wanted to go forward
with this," describes Dr. Mash.
But even with FDA approval, Dr. Mash could not get funding to look
into what was, after all, a counter-culture drug. In order to
complete her project, she had to leave South Florida and go offshore,
to the island of St. Kitts.
In 1998, clinical trials finally got underway. Patients were given
carefully prepared oral doses of ibogaine. What happened next
astounded the sceptical scientist.
"Our first round in St. Kitts, we treated six individuals, and I will
go to my grave with the memory of that first round," says Dr. Mash.
It quickly became apparent that one dose of ibogaine blocked the
withdrawal symptoms of even hard-core addicts and was amazingly
effective for heroin, crack cocaine and even alcohol.
There are two reasons why: The first, science can measure. The second
remains a mystery.
Dr. Mash admits, "I was really scared. I questioned my own sanity on
"I don't like the word 'hallucinogen,' but indeed, ibogaine alters
mental state. And what it seems to do is it puts people into a four
to six hour state of almost an active dream, it's like a lucid
dream." she describes.
But as Dr. Mash was about to discover, during that dream state,
something extraordinary happens. "We knew ibogaine was effective for
blocking opiate withdrawal, we saw it diminish the desire to use
alcohol. And we saw the cravings for cocaine blocked. I was hooked,"
Patrick admits, "It's literally like a miracle. Nothing has ever
worked and this just did." He was one of the 280 people in Dr. Mash's
trial of ibogaine.
"Patrick was one of the worst opiate addicts, worst heroin addicts
that I have ever enountered in my life," says Dr. Mash. His arms
still bear the scars of years of heroin addiction, and he knows only
too well what happened when the flow of drugs into those arms was
interrupted. "When you're going through withdrawal, you're sweating,
you're shaking, you're freezing, you're hot, it feels like your spine
is being smashed in a vise, it's pain," describes Patrick.
Within 45 minutes of taking ibogaine, he actually felt his addiction
leaving him. "That moment is the first time in about 10 years that I
had actually been clean. Not just detoxed, but clean. That was it.
That was the first time. That was like a miracle," says Patrick
That was four years ago. Patrick Kroupa has not touched drugs
since. "I'm saying this having been on heroin for my entire adult
life. I mean, 14 to 30 is a long time," he says.
On one level, Dr. Mash understands some of what happens. Ibogaine in
the body is metabolized into another compound called 'noribogaine.'
Noribogaine appears to reset chemical switches in the brain of an
"The noribogaine resets that, so it resets the opiates, blocks the
opiate withdrawal, diminishes craving and the desire to use, and it
elevates mood," say Dr. Mash.
But of the "visions" that people see, Dr. Mash understands very
little -- only that they are somehow significant to the
outcome. "It's as if the plant is teaching you something fundamental
about who you are as a person and why you've got yourself locked into
this intractible pattern of behavior," she says.
Ibogaine will not work for everyone. And even for those for whom it
does work, it is not a "magic bullet." "You need treatment, you need
social workers, you need case management, you need medication,
psychiatry, you need the whole boat of professionalism around this,"
says Dr. Mash.
But for Patrick Kroupa and many of the other addicts in the trials,
ibogaine was a miracle. "It's like if you suffer from terminal cancer
and somebody goes by and says, 'Oh, yeah, we cured that. We passed
this thing over you and it's gone,'" he says.
Even the reserved scientist believes this ancient drug from Africa
holds astounding promise for the modern world. "I think we're going
to see fantastic numbers. I think these numbers are going to be
stunning," says Dr. Mash.
Dr. Mash will present her findings to the Food and Drug
Administration next month. She hopes the FDA will eventually
authorize further testing, based on her results. In the meantime,
ibogaine remains illegal in the United States.
Ibogaine is advertised on the internet, but there is no guarantee of
the quality unless it's given under medical supervision. And for now,
that can only be done overseas.
For ibogaine detox information, contact Healing Transitions at 1-888-
426-4286 or www.Ibogaine.net
Lost Beach Boys Album Premieres in U.K.
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer
LONDON - In 1967, Beach Boys songwriter Brian Wilson shelved "Smile,"
an ambitious concept album intended as the group's masterpiece.
Thirty-seven years later, "Smile" received its live premiere in
London - and most critics agreed it was worth the wait.
Wilson, 61 and performing again after years as a near recluse,
received a five-minute standing ovation at the end of Friday's show
at London's Royal Festival Hall. A black-clad Wilson led an 18-piece
band in performances of several Beach Boys hits, followed by the
complete "Smile" - concluding with its best-known track, the pop
classic "Good Vibrations."
Fans were rapturous. The Guardian newspaper hailed the
work's "groundbreaking complexity and sophistication," while The
Daily Telegraph called it "a glorious, tangled symphony of
celebration and sadness."
"Smile" was intended as a follow-up to The Beach Boys' groundbreaking
1966 album "Pet Sounds," and its lush orchestration took advantage of
advances in recording technology.
The perfectionist Wilson worked for months to build the album's
multilayered sound, but shelved it shortly before its scheduled
release, explaining that the songs were "not commercial."
Over the years, "Smile" gained a reputation among fans as the band's
It may not deserve that status, Times of London critic Stephen Dalton
wrote Saturday, but he nonetheless hailed "the grace and wisdom"
"Smile," he said, was "a 40-minute crazy-paving collage of song
fragments and Looney Tunes jingles, all bookended by the lush glory
of 'Heroes and Villains' and the rapturous warble of 'Good
Vibrations' ... It was clearly adventurous for its era but it is not
difficult to see why Wilson's label and fellow Beach Boys balked at
Wilson is due to play five more London concerts this week, followed
by several dates around Britain and continental Europe.
Pentagon Tells Bush: Climate Change Will Destroy Us
Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism
By Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
The Observer - UK
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global
catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The
Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath
rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020.
Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will
erupt across the world.
The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the
planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat
to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The
threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the
few experts privy to its contents.
'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes
the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which
has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said
that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has
insisted national defence is a priority.
The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser
Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military
thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a
sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military
under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US
national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA
consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group,
and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and
would challenge United States national security in ways that should
be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year
widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major
upheaval for millions.
Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large
body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked
science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did
not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four
months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the
threat of climate change.
Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could
prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real
and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United
States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic
A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to
voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive
to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The
Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about
the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance
appeared increasingly out of touch.
One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about
some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony
Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's
position on the issue as indefensible.
Among those scientists present at the White House talks were
Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to
the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate
scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said
that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point'
in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.
Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological
Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate
change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out
that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'
Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the
Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.
'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this
sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single
highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko,
liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate
change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has
to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen
to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.
'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across
the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars.
It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on
this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.
Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a
higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic'
shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder
to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years
ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine,
disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be
Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid
climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,'
he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because
there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over
Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a
disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the
process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another
five years,' he said.
'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are
unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels
would be worthwhile.'
So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may
prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is
known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists
disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry
uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.
The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid
Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a
secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security
called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon
insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being
behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.
Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said
that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the
White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet
another example of why this government should stop burying its head
in the sand on this issue.'
Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered
energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate
change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This
administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful
of large energy and oil companies,' he added.