First, let’s talk about ibogaine. To the uninitiated, it can sound like an elixir of the gods; a one cure fits all solution to many ills and the answer to many evils. We’re talking about a naturally occurring psychoactive substance, extracted from plants, which has psychedelic properties, much like you would find in various hallucinogenic fungi or peyote cacti, for example.
So what’s all the fuss about? It’s not particularly common in illegal markets, it’s not raved about by those on the drug scene, it’s not ingrained in popular culture. Where is its controversy based?
The drug was first described as having anti-addictive properties in the early 1960s by a guy called Howard Lotsof, but had previously been used in bohemian circles in Victorian France and more recently by the CIA, during their fruitful periods of experimenting with psychedelics at the start of the Cold War.
Despite this colorful history of usage, the drug is not approved for any medical purposes and all studies in the field of anti-addiction were quickly curtailed once it was realized that the drug was dangerous in terms of cardiotoxicity.
Willing subjects for experimentation reported symptoms of ataxia, whereby their muscles failed to function and intense nausea and vomiting ensued, so the drug is by no means pleasant as far as recreational use is concerned. All of this asks the question: why are people using ibogaine at all?
Treatment clinics for detoxification (anti-addiction)
Soon anti-addiction clinics began springing up in legal gray areas in certain corners of the world, notably Canada, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Mexico.
One of theseat the center of the ibogaine clinic scam is based in Cancun, Mexico.A gentleman named David Dardashti operates it, and is financially supported his son, Jonathan Dardashti. The issues surrounding the Cancun clinic are not immediately apparent, as treatment is conducted in pleasant circumstances and by seemingly competent staff.
Photo: David Dardashti
The issue of the ibogaine clinic scam is that there remains, to this day, no proof that ibogaine is an effective tool in the treatment of addiction and these are not conducted within an appropriate medical setting. In addition to this, the continual use of these kids of stimulants, without the correct psychosocial care can result in traumatic experiences that can lead to irreversible psychological damage. One in 300 will die from treatment with ibogaine.
So while people like Davidand Jonathan Dardashti will continue to profit from the treatment of addicts (especially those with opiate addictions, who are in a more serious physical condition), there are no medical records of the successful treatment of patients using ibogaine, and the type of establishment used in the ibogaine clinic scam is obviously a vehicle that puts financial gain before patient responsibility and care.
These clinics exist in legal gray areas for a reason. Had ibogaine been deemed a useful and safe form of treatment, most western governments would have approved its use long ago. Indeed the cost of resources and treatment for addiction is that high that those in power would welcome such a development. Would you go to Mexico for a kidney transplant? No, us neither.