What's Stopping Ibogaine Treatment for Heroin Addiction From Being Legalized?


The tragic passing of Actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman last Sunday serves as a reminder to all Americans about the dangers of addiction, as well as the nation's growing heroin epidemic. Now, more than ever before, heroin addiction affects individuals and families from all walks of life. The tragedies that result may be unique for everyone, but they play out repetitively every day.

Amid the media-saturated marijuana debate, there exists another conversation; one that focuses on drugs that are truly and powerfully destructive for users and their families. Heroin, for example, is considered one of the most dangerous Schedule I drugs. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), more than 3,000 people died from heroin overdoses in 2010, the most recent year for which there are statistics. Apart from overdose, a life of addiction to heroin is often little consolation.

Heroin Addiction & Ibogaine

Treatment for heroin addiction has long centered on replacement therapies like methadone. Unfortunately, methadone is administered only at heavily regulated government clinics and also carries the risk of overdose. Another treatment gaining popularity in other countries is ibogaine, a derivative of the iboga plant. Although ibogaine has been proven to be highly effective for treating heroin addiction, it is currently a Schedule I drug in the United States because of its hallucinogenic properties.

Some ibogaine advocates have stated that U.S. pharmaceutical companies are to blame for not developing and marketing the drug as a therapeutic treatment, despite having the resources to do so. Others blame the U.S. government for not making efforts to reclassify ibogaine. If it were not a Schedule I drug, private clinics would be able to provide ibogaine treatments.

The problem of addiction is no easy problem to solve. The fact that there is potential for change and true innovations that are not being pursued, however, is just as troubling as the problem itself. For now, the heroin epidemic remains a serious concern in Ohio and throughout the country, and is a significant reason behind a variety of crimes and criminal recidivism.

If you or your loved one has been charged with a drug crime – including the possession or sale of heroin – a Columbus criminal defense lawyer from Koffel Brininger Nesbitt can help. Call 614-675-4845 to discuss your case.