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Ibogaine is illegal in the United States.

However, the psychoactive alkaloid is considered a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, with no accepted medicinal value. As such, no treatment facility in the US offers ibogaine as a treatment for addiction. Ibogaine is not specifically classified under Irish Law. However, since 2010, it may fall under the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010. The law prohibits all psychoactive substances, with certain caveats. Since 1970, iboga has been legally prohibited in the United States following several fatalities. Preliminary research for the potential use of ibogaine in the treatment of opioid dependence is ongoing in the 21st century, with several clinics using ibogaine in Western countries, Panama, and Caribbean islands. But Mr Smith’s death has prompted calls for an inquiry into the use of ibogaine, which is illegal to import into Australia without a licence and has been illegal in the United States since the 1960s because of severe side effects such as hallucinations, seizures and fatal heart arrhythmia and brain damage in patients .

MAPS submitted comments to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis for consideration prior to the Commission’s first meeting on June 16th, 2017. Read the comments here.

Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid naturally occurring in the West African shrub iboga. While ibogaine is a mild stimulant in small doses, in larger doses it induces a profound psychedelic state. Historically, it has been used in healing ceremonies and initiations by members of the Bwiti religion in various parts of West Africa. People with problem substance use have found that larger doses of ibogaine can significantly reduce withdrawal from opiates and temporarily eliminate substance-related cravings.

See below for a complete timeline of MAPS’ ibogaine therapy research.

Although first-hand accounts indicate that ibogaine is unlikely to be popular as a recreational drug, ibogaine remains classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States (it is also scheduled in Belgium and Switzerland). Yet despite its classification as a drug with a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use,” people who struggle with substance abuse continue to seek out international clinics or underground providers to receive ibogaine treatment.

Over 30 fatalities temporally associated with the ingestion of Ibogaine have been reported in the published peer-reviewed scientific literature. Most were likely preventable with appropriate screening for medical conditions, eliminating access to abused substances by the patient during and immediately following treatment, assurance of adequate electrolyte status (particularly potassium and magnesium levels), stabilization of withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepines prior to ibogaine treatment, cardiac monitoring with the presence of ACLS certified personnel, IV access, preparation for recognition and management of bradycardia, and assurance of readiness to rapidly transport the patient to an emergency room.

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