Thursday, April 5, 2018

WHY WON'T OUR LEGISLATORS VOTE ON IBOGAINE?

HB1207:  The Ibogaine Treatment Study Bill is stalled in the HGO Committee!  Please call members today and
ASK FOR A VOTE!

Contact info for House Government Operations (HGO) Committee members:

THE PROBLEM

Treatment for opioid dependence, as well as healthcare policy designed to address the epidemic proportions of suffering individuals, have been monopolized by an industry with enough capital to create brilliant marketing and promotion strategies that have created a $1.4 billion opioid addiction treatment industry in the U.S., as of 2014 (Manalo, 2017).

“Interestingly, the pharmaceutical industry's response to this drug addiction crisis is more drugs(Manalo, 2017)

Due to a lack of equally proportional funding for high profile marketing and lobbying strategies, other equally viable or promising alternative treatments, like Ibogaine therapy, have either struggled to gain a foothold in the treatment arena or remain virtually unheard of.  This is simply unconscionable given the degree to which this problem is devastating our families and communities across Maryland, and hemorrhaging our hard-earned tax dollars in a futile attempt to meet the burgeoning capacity needs of our overwhelmed healthcare and justice systems. 

About Ibogaine

Ibogaine is a drug extracted from the root bark of the West African iboga shrub.  It has psychoactive (alterations in perception, mood, consciousness or behavior) and psychedelic (hallucinogenic) properties when ingested.

It’s effectiveness in curing opiate addiction was first discovered in 1962, by Howard Lotsof, a heroin addict living in New York.  Seeking a recreational hallucinogenic experience, he found that after a two day intense hallucinogenic ‘trip’, he no longer felt any cravings for heroin –even more incredibly, he had no withdrawal symptoms.

Since then, studies undertaken by leading research and academic facilities have corroborated Lotsof’s experience, demonstrating that ibogaine is an effective addiction interrupter for most substances including heroin, methadone, methamphetamine, cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine. With just one dose of the hallucinogen and a psychedelic journey that can last days, heroin addicts, alcoholics and cocaine users have reportedly found themselves completely free from their cravings –with none of the usual withdrawal symptoms.

Although how it works in the brain is still not entirely clear, researchers believe that once ingested, ibogaine is converted to a metabolite, called noribogaine. This substance impacts different parts of the brain involved in drug-taking patterns of behavior –neurotransmitter pathways strongly linked to addiction and reward.  Noribogaine ‘rewires’ these areas, basically rebalancing brain chemistry by leveling out dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, adrenaline and other neuro-chemicals –thus allowing the brain to restructure itself to its pre-addicted state. It is like pressing a brain reset button.  Once this process is complete, no further use of ibogaine is necessary.  Long-term relief from withdrawal symptoms probably comes from the fact that ibogaine is stored in fat tissue and slowly released into the bloodstream for up to six months.

In addition to the complete elimination of withdrawal symptoms, users report an experience of clarity and insight into repressed emotional memories, trauma, and subconscious guilt.  Many describe the experience as intensely therapeutic –similar to going through years of therapy in 24 hours, with flashbacks to pivotal life-changing experiences often repressed since childhood.  Afterwards, they are left with critical insights into the root of their addiction process as well as other unhealthy behavior patterns.  Through unlocking past traumatic events or situations, many of which are subconscious, individuals are suddenly able to gain understanding or clarification of the causal factors that have contributed to their compulsion to use substances.

Although medical use of ibogaine is currently not legal in the United States, it is currently used to treat opiate addiction in other countries, including Canada and Mexico.  While 9 of the 28 countries presently in the European Union have similar classifications as the U.S., it is unregulated (neither officially approved nor illegal) in much of the rest of the world.  New Zealand, Brazil, and South Africa have classified ibogaine as a pharmaceutical substance and restrict its use to licensed medical practitioners.  This has led Americans who struggle with addiction to seek out international clinics or underground providers to receive treatment.

IBOGAINE

BENEFITS
·         Eliminates craving and withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate use disorder (Alper, 1999; Alper et al., 2012; Cloutier-Gill et al., 2016; Franciotti, 2013; Glick, 1991, 1999; Heink, 2017; Lotsof and Alexander, 2001; Mačiulaitis et al., 2008; Mash et al., 1995, 2000, 2001; Noller, 2016; Sheppard, 1994)

·         Clinical trials have reported rates of abstinence at twelve month follow-up of between 20% (Brown & Alper, 2017), 24% (Bastiaans, 2004), 40% - 50% (Mash, 2016), and 57% (Noller, 2016).  Other studies report that participants were either abstinent from all drug use, or had stopped use of primary and secondary drugs of choice (primary opiates) (Bastiaans, 2004)

·         Ibogaine is not addictive (Koenig and Hilber, 2015; Ross, 2012)

·         Perceived improvement in overall health by 58% of respondents (Bastiaans, 2004)

·         Significant reductions in reported depression (Mash, 2012; Noller, 2016) by 100% of respondents (Bastiaans, 2004)

·         Triggers recovery patterns for other psychological issues including anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (Anderson, 1998; Bastiaans, 2004)

·         Reduced criminal behavior (Bastiaans, 2004)

·         Reported improvements in family relationships and social connectivity (Brown and Alper, 2017; Noller, 2016) in 88% of respondents (Bastiaans, 2004)

·         Limited potential for abuse due to nausea and vomiting (Alper et al, 2012), and its propensity for facilitating emotionally unsettling and uncomfortable memories during therapy (Donnelly, 2011)
RISKS

·         If not dosed or administered correctly, it may cause cardiac arrest or seizures  (Alper et al., 2012; Breuer et al, 2015; Hoelen, 2009; Jacobson, 2017; Maas, 2006; Noller, 2016;) –A total of 27 deaths have been reported globally since Ibogaine’s use as an anti-addictive medication (Litjens, 2016)

·         ‘Waking dreams’ that may be unpleasant or emotionally uncomfortable (Taylor, 2017)

·         Hampers muscle coordination during therapy (Taylor, 2017)

·         May induce periods of nausea and vomiting during therapy (Breuer et al, 2015; Taylor, 2017)



Monday, April 2, 2018

ACTION ALERT: One More Call!


‘ONE MORE WEEK LEFT’ STATUS
The Maryland General Assembly ends in one more week --on April 9th.  Please call your legislators and ask them to VOTE IMPORTANT BILLS OUT OF COMMITTEE!  Most SUD bills are in limbo with the Committees reluctant to vote on them one way or another.  If there is no vote --they "die in Committee".  Nothing is moving.

If you care about any of the following bills, NOW is the time to call COMMITTEE MEMBERS (links below) and ask for A VOTE ON BILL #...  Call every day, all week long, and send an email.  Pass this along to your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and strangers on the street corners and ask them to call as well. 
Here is a list of some really good bills STUCK in Committee:

STUCK in House Government Operations Committee (HGO):
For HGO Committee member contacts go to: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=cmtepage&stab=04&id=hgo&tab=subject7&ys=2018RS

1)      HB326: Safe and Supervised Consumption Site Pilot Program: Provides a safe place for users to bring drugs.  This is NOT enabling.  This is a place where these individuals (someone’s child) can get medical assistance (in case of O.D.), access to treatment, or at least use a phone to call their family, etc.  80+ such sites around the world have a zero overdose rate, and a high rate of getting these folks into treatment. 

2)      HB1207: Ibogaine Treatment Study Program: Provides funding for Maryland to study the efficacy of Ibogaine to treat opiate dependence.  It is currently used to treat opiate addiction in other countries, including Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, and many European countries, and has a success rate of between 40% - 57%.  The entrenched Pharma / medical lobby opposes this solution because it is natural, and would compete with pharmaceutical solutions.  Currently, many families send their loved ones to Mexico and Canada to access treatment. 

STUCK in House Appropriations Committee:
For Appropriations Committee member contacts go to: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=cmtepage&stab=04&id=app&tab=subject7&ys=2018RS

3)      HB1577: Funding for Family Navigation Services: Allocates $1,665,915 to the state annual budget for family ‘navigators’ to assist parents of children (including young adults) with behavioral health needs (including addiction).  Navigators assist parents / caregivers in 1) understanding and addressing their child’s behavioral health needs; 2) identifying community resources; and 3) obtaining needed services.  Many organizations in our grassroots community-based network already provide these services without any reimbursement. 

STUCK in Senate Finance Committee:
For Finance Committee member contacts go to:
http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=cmtepage&stab=04&id=fin&tab=subject7&ys=2018RS

4)      SB975: Task Force to Study the Impact of Drug Addiction on our State: Creates a Task Force to study the impact of addiction in Maryland: the number of emergency room visits and deaths related to drug addiction; economic and health care costs related to drug addiction; the number of families negatively impacted by drug addiction; the portion of the unemployment rate attributable to the unemployment of individuals with criminal records involving drug–related crimes; recidivism rates related to drug addiction; physical and mental health issues caused by drug addiction; homelessness due to drug addiction; deep–seated physiological problems due to drug addiction; the lack of health insurance coverage for addiction treatment; the exacerbation and remission status of chronic diseases similar to drug addiction such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease;  ways to promote early detection of diseases, such as hepatitis C, related to drug addiction; and the number of an individual’s failed treatment attempts.  The Task Force will then make recommendations.   This costs no money. Our state seems reluctant to act to address the ADDICTION EPIDEMIC.  The information gathered in this Task Force will prove just how costly INACTION can be. 

5)      SB702: Requires Insurance Companies to Pay for Assessments for Opioid Use Disorder: Currently, many people seeking treatment for a chronic opioid dependence must first be ‘assessed’ in order to receive treatment.  Depending on their insurance, many are paying hundreds of dollars for this assessment out-of-pocket.  Pain management doctors encounter problems when referring patients for an assessment because the insurance provider may not pay for them.  Or insurance companies are taking their sweet time in making pre-authorizations for these assessments.  This bill ensures that insurance companies fast-track and approve these authorizations. 

STUCK in the Senate:
For Senate Committee member contacts go to:
http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmmain.aspx?pid=legisrpage&tab=subject6

6)      HB922: Establishes Provisions for a ‘Pill Mill’ Tip-Line, and Procedures for Investigating Overdose Death: This bill mandates the state to devise a means for citizens to anonymously report “pill mills” and doctors “prescribing for profit” to authorities for investigation. 

THESE  BILLS  DESERVE  A  VOTE!