by Lakshmi Narayan
Four years ago I set out to make a documentary called Iboga Saves: Ending the Opioid Epidemic with co-producer Eric Thiermann of Impact Creative. We raised an initial round of crowdfunding, just under $20k enough to get around 40-50 hours of footage.
We filmed dozens of people, in NYC, Colorado, Tijuana, and Santa Cruz, some who had taken ibogaine and others who desperately wanted to but couldn’t afford the treatment, or the foreign travel costs, or just didn’t know where to go.
The lament I heard most often was “I can’t afford it.”
The reason many can’t afford this amazing medicine, which in one 24-36 hour flood-dose treatment interrupts opioid addiction without any withdrawals is because
Ibogaine is mistakenly and intentionally labelled a Schedule One drug “with no medicinal value” and a “high potential for recreational abuse.”
Both claims are absurd on their face, as ibogaine has been shown for decades to have great medicinal value and cannot be used recreationally.
Ibogaine is a powerful medicine that needs to be administered with medical supervision and monitoring of vitals, because it slows down the QT interval between heartbeats during the active phase of the experience. According to Dr. Jeffrey Kamlet, Medical advisor for FEAT and board certified in addiction medicine, it IS possible to mitigate the cardiac risks with the proper protocols, which he himself has administered 1800 times with safety and efficacy.
The ibogaine “industry” has been for years an unregulated frontier, with people setting up shop in houses in Tijuana or other parts of Mexico, Portugal, Amsterdam, South Africa, and of course underground. After an ibogaine rebirth, one often gets an evangelical zeal about spreading the word and helping one’s friends, and many reformed addicts have opened ibogaine clinics in this zeal only to relapse into drug addiction again (while running an ibogaine clinic) because they did not have access to an integration process which is necessary for true redemption of one’s life. You need to change actual life environments and habits, not just the drug habit, but everything else that came in its train– for some, lying, cheating, stealing, dealing, and worse. It takes courage, honesty, a framework, and community, which is what we offer on our social impact platform at Awake.net.
Why has ibogaine remained illegal for so long if it is such a miraculous medicine for addiction you might ask.
The short answer is because the “incurable” disease of addiction, addiction treatment, rehab, and the inefficacy of the methods makes for a great business model and is a multi-billion dollar business, while a plant medicine that can interrupt addiction in a single treatment is not. There is absolutely no motivation to change the system on the part of big pharma or the healthcare industry as things stand and any change in legislation from the psychedelic renaissance currently underway will take years if not decades to actualize.
And that’s why we created the FEAT program.
FEAT is a non-profit charitable fund designed to administer ibogaine or other entheogenic treatment grants and guidance to individuals seeking to heal opioid and other hard addictions, trauma, mood disorders, suicidal ideation, meaninglessness and more. We provide grants upto $10K that can be applied towards ibogaine, ketamine, ayahuasca, and other entheogenic treatments as appropriate. We also offer ongoing integration support through our social network on Awake.net, a nine-month program Change Your Character, the Awake Circles weekly online support group, an ongoing educational blog series, and a global Directory of Mentors and Masters in preparation, treatment and navigation, and integration.
Ways You Can Support Us
Become a FEAT FRIEND with a recurring tax-deductible donation of $1 or more and help save the life of a friend, family member, or total stranger.
Donate $10K towards one or more tax-deductible individual entheogenic treatments, and win a lifetime premium membership on Awake.net
Host and maintain your website on Awake Media's green hosting server and help end opioid addiction while creating community and web presence $32/mo
Join the Living Library of Mentors & Masters and build a following with a white-label website plus courses, blogs, events, and causes on Awake.net $64/mo
Where the Money Goes
$10K FEAT treatment grant for ibogaine treatment and 7-10 day stay.
$900 for 9 month Change Your Character program (applicant self-pay)
$1100 applicant self-pay towards integration therapy or coaching or other energy psychology modalities.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is the FEAT Program?
The Iboga Saves FEAT (Funding Entheogenic Addiction Treatments) Program was created by Awake.net, a 501(c)(3)(pending) charitable non-profit, to provide financial aid for people to recover from opioid addiction. The treatment we subsidize uses ibogaine, a plant medicine that can interrupt cravings in a single treatment and reduce or eliminate withdrawal. It has been used since 1962 both underground in the US, and at clinics and ceremonies abroad where ibogaine is legal or decriminalized. The FEAT Program fills a gap in the current system that does not provide insurance coverage in the US for ibogaine treatments.
What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is possibly the missing link in the conventional addiction recovery pathway, perhaps the reason why traditional rehab has a 93% failure rate. Ibogaine is a whitish powder that is extracted from the root bark of the Tabernathe iboga shrub and the leaves of the Voacanga africana bush. When Ibogaine HCL is administered in a flood dose to opioid addicts it interrupts addiction in one treatment and resets the individual to a pre-addicted state. It also takes the person on an inner journey lasting up to 32 hours where profound insights are had and renewed energy for life is made possible. While ibogaine does have mind-altering qualities, it is not like other psychedelics for many reasons. For one thing it is more akin to a lucid dream-like experience than a psychedelic vision such as that created by psilocybin or ayahuasca. Secondly, ibogaine also acts on the physiology and “scrubs’ the receptors and resets brain lesions and neurons during the active phase of the treatment thus completely resetting the individual to a pre-addicted state. Thirdly, unlike other psychedelics, ibogaine cannot be taken in a recreational setting. Not only does it cause nausea and ataxia during the active phase, it also increases the QT interval or gap between heartbeats, thus representing a potentially fatal cardiac risk for some people with pre-existing cardiac conditions or other co-morbidities in their system. Iboga, in root bark form, has been used by the Pygmies and the Bwiti people in West Africa for centuries as an initiatory sacrament for a rite of passage into adulthood.
Why is ibogaine illegal in the US?
Because Ibogaine is a psychedelic, it was misclassified in 1970 when the Controlled Substances Act criminalized all psychedelics as dangerous Schedule 1 drugs with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Both counts are untrue, especially with ibogaine. Sure, it IS a psychedelic, and Ibogaine can be dangerous, even fatal, if not administered safely, but it has great medicinal value: It’s the only medicine known to man that can actually INTERRUPT severe addictions like opioid or meth and restore the body, mind, and spirit to a pre-addicted state, sometimes within minutes of taking the medicine. There is no other medicine like it that we know of. While other psychedelics like ayahuasca and psilocybin offer psycho-spiritual experiences, only ibogaine also has a measurable physiological effect. It completely erases all traces of the addictive pathways in the body and brain. Because ibogaine has such strong side-effects during the 12-32 hour “active” period, it is not possible to take ibogaine in a recreational setting. It needs full-time medical supervision and monitoring of vitals during treatment, ideally in a clinic or other therapeutic setting.
What happens during an ibogaine treatment?
Most ibogaine treatments are a week-long procedure, though there are some programs that offer more time to detox beforehand or recoup afterwards, both of which are essential aspects of care but can be handled at home as well. The active phase of the ibogaine treatment happens in the middle of the week-long procedure and lasts 36 hours, starting with an 8-12 hour extremely active phase. During that phase one may experience ataxia (nausea upon the slightest movement) and strong waves of energy moving up the body from toe to top. At the same time one enters into a lucid dream-like visionary state where insights, guidance, and teachings are delivered on the screen of the mind. Many people report it to be a spiritual experience where they heal traumas or understand the root causes of their problems or are shown that if they don’t stop using they’ll die. The teaching can be quite candid, as though coming from a stern father figure. As far as what’s actually going on inside these experiences and where this knowledge is coming from, that is open to interpretation, since it is different for each person. Many people report a connecting with a sense of wholeness and joy that really helps them heal and meet life again. On a neuronal level the ibogaine repairs brain lesions and connections and strengthens the GDNF cells which deliver dopamine to the body. It also resets the molecular triggers that cause craving and withdrawal symptoms, giving opioids addicts a clean slate and a true second chance at redeeming their lives.
What happens during the Precare phase of the treatment?
The ibogaine clinic you are working with will instruct you on detox protocols and may give you short-acting opiates to sustain you during the weeks prior to treatment. Depending on what combination of prescriptions and drugs you are consuming, your precare detox period and protocols will vary. For example, Suboxone requires a 28-day detox period, while heroin is shorter. In addition to detoxing, the pre-care period is when you will prepare yourself psychologically for an “inner journey” that could have profound implications for your life.
What is Aftercare Integration?
After the ibogaine treatment, there is a period up to four months during which the noribogaine is slowly released in the body from where it has been stored in the fat cells. The presence of noribogaine makes it easy to maintain sobriety and the sense of well-being you may have gained from the reset. However, in order to recover fully, the patient will need to change his or her life dramatically, since for many people, years of being in the grip of addiction has created a lifestyle and behaviors that all need to be reformed and the insights gained during the inner journey need to be integrated into life. This requires discipline, contemplation, structure and support, such as with an addiction recovery coach or therapist, or some other spiritual community or perhaps a 12-step kind of circle. Our program includes all of the above, with a weekly online Awake Circles meeting, a one-month self-study and mentorship program called “Change Your Character” that has a monthly class as well as a directory of Mentors and Masters who are expert at preparation, navigation, and integration of a high-dose entheogenic experience.
Who are the treatment providers?
The week-long ibogaine treatment will be provided by a clinic in Tuluum, Mexico
Are any medical research papers or testimonials available about ibogaine's effectiveness?
Please visit our website https://awake.net/blog to read personal accounts of addiction recovery using ibogaine and learn more about the most effective way to treat and cure addiction. Research, media coverage, video, website, and testimonial links coming in February.
What happens if you only raise a part of the amount required or the applicant doesn't go through with the treatment?
The funds we raise for each applicant are kept in escrow until we have the full amount and only then is treatment initiated. In the event that we don’t raise the full amount, you have the option of receiving a refund or choosing to donate it to the FEAT general fund to go towards another person’s treatment. Please indicate your preference on the donation form checkbox.
See Ibogaine Testimonials
youtube links to come