By Bill Maher
America has a rather large opioid problem, and one of the things about opioids that makes the problem so hard to kick is that it’s so hard to kick opioids. Once you’re a user, there aren’t a lot of good ways to stop being one. Well, it turns out there is something that is rather effective. It’s called ibogaine. The problem is that ibogaine is a really powerful hallucinogen that the US groups together with LSD and psilocybin as Schedule I substances, meaning drugs “which have no medical application and are not safe for use even under medical supervision.” Except they do, and they are.
A few years ago, VICE on HBO did a special report on an ibogaine clinic for addicts just over the border in Mexico. Public Radio International also ran a story this year on the positive effects of ibogaine on opioid addicts. Basically, what the drug does is send people on a very difficult 24-hour trip, complete with purging and hallucinations that are filled with some very difficult life lessons. And then you do it again. And maybe again. By the time you’re done with your week, your body feels like it’s been reset. Gone are the cravings, or the desire to put poison into your body, and this feeling can last for 4-6 weeks. This usually gives opiate addicts the first break from craving the drug they’ve had in months or years. Suddenly there’s space to decide whether or not you want to go back to being a junkie. It’s been a lifesaver for many. You just can’t get it here in the US. The country with the huge opioid problem.
What’s more, our good friend Michael Pollan has a new book coming out called How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence and it’s about these very same types of drugs, which have been shown to provide great benefits to a lot of people who suffer from, well, life.
So, why wouldn’t we allow doctors and psychologists access to tools that have been shown to help so many? Isn’t this just another way our stupid drug war makes everything worse?