California and many other states have shifted to treating addiction rather than punishing non-violent offenders, but our country is still struggling to find a reliable means of preventing repeat abuse. Millions of individuals have been unfairly mistreated by our criminal justice system when they needed medical and psychiatric care to deal with their conditions. Given the stigma that comes with drug addiction and the difficulties of finding reliable treatment, some addicts have looked outside the United States for new treatments.
What Is Ibogaine?
Just across the border in Mexico, individuals struggling with addiction can seek ibogaine to treat their drug addiction. A powerful psychedelic, ibogaine is used by a handful of doctors to treat addiction to heroin and other opioids by allowing a person to confront the neurological aspect of his addiction. Ibogaine produces similar psychedelic experiences as LSD, with users reporting hallucinations that allowed them to process the underlying mental health condition that led to their addiction. Users have also stated that ibogaine alleviated heroin withdrawal symptoms and allowed them to better resist cravings long after using ibogaine, reducing the likelihood of relapse.
Does Ibogaine Treat Addiction?
While most researchers do not believe ibogaine alone can stop addiction, some have stated that it could help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and prove effective if used alongside traditional treatments like therapy, group counseling, and support networks. In a study by the American Journal of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, researchers evaluated the relapse rate of opioid addicts after the use of ibogaine. The study tracked the participants for up to 12 months, after which the researchers concluded that the treatment reduced withdrawal symptoms and participants saw a reduced dependency on opioids. Other studies have also shown high success rates.
However, ibogaine is not a miracle cure and comes with its own risks. Improper dosage and abuse can lead to seizures, heart complications, and death. Providers of ibogaine treatment should offer thorough medical reviews and testing before accepting a patient, and patients should be wary of any treatment that has not been thoroughly studied and regulated.
Is Ibogaine Illegal?
Ibogaine has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). A Schedule I classification means that the authorities do not believe that ibogaine has any medical uses and that it is a highly addictive substance.
Ibogaine treatment is only legal in Mexico and New Zealand. The United States, France, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Poland, Croatia, and Switzerland have outlawed it expressly.
If you are caught possessing ibogaine, you can be sentenced to:
- Up to one year in county jail;
- A maximum $1,000 fine;
- Probation; and/or
- Drug counseling.
Given the strict limits on ibogaine in the United States, there is also the risk of a trafficking charge if you bring it across the border. Trafficking ibogaine comes with hefty penalties, including multiple years in a state prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and an invasive investigation by several government agencies.
If you or someone you love has been charged with possessing, selling, or trafficking ibogaine, reach out to Law Office of Michael L. Guisti and speak to an Orange County drug defense attorney in a free consultation. Our legal team can advocate to have your charges reduced or for you to enter a diversion program instead of jail. Call Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 today to get started on your defense.