There are over two million heroin addicts in the United States alone, a huge number – that means that approximately 1 in every 150 people in the US are hooked on the drug. Each day around 500 people will try heroin for the first time, for most of those 500 it won’t be the last time, and for many of those it will lead to a lifetime of addiction and numerous unsuccessful attempts to beat one of the most addicted substances on the planet. Many addicts switch to methadone, a heroin substitute, but that chemical is equally as addictive as heroin so they are switching one habit for another.
But there is an alternative to methadone or straight cold turkey, a little known psychedelic drug called Iboga. In West Africa it is used by followers of some tribal religions as a ‘rite of passage’, but in the West it is becoming well known as a possible cure for addiction. Thousands of addicts have taken one controlled dose of Iboga and have come out of their hallucinations 24 to 36 hours later having finished their withdrawal symptoms. This was first documented in Detox or Die by British filmmaker David Graham Scott. Ibogaine is illegal in the United States, with American addicts having to travel to Mexico for Ibogaine treatment. In Europe the typical destination for those seeking the miracle cure is Amsterdam.
Facing The Habit is a 2007 documentary which tells the story of Dave, a 33 year old former millionaire stockbroker who is losing everything to heroin addiction and had been reduced to stealing to fund his habit despite still earning a substantial salary. In a desperate last attempt to break the cycle of addiction he agrees to undergo treatment with Ibogaine (derived from the Iboga root), but the treatment is not without its risks as a proportion of people who take a dose will die.