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Home > English (en) > About us > BULLETIN > Encod Bulletin 140
Published on 20 December 2016  by Richard Rainsford

Encod Bulletin 140
Prohibition blinds, Prohibition kills

Italy seemed to have taken some moderate steps forward during the UNGASS 2016 in New York where Minister Andrea Orlando announced some form of cannabis decriminalization and to abandon demagoguery in drug policies—opting for the solutions that work.

All the versions of this article: [italiano] [français] [English]

But possibly there was some schizophrenia on this in the past government of Mr. Matteo Renzi in addition to his proposal discarding the best Constitution of the world (as the comedian Roberto Benigni used to call it). On the first of august 2016 the right wing Minister of Health Ms Beatrice Lorenzin banned two plants that are universally deemed as useful in combatting the opioid crisis that is affecting many parts of the world including the United States, kratom and iboga, a S. E. Asian tea and a sacred plant used both as a sacrament in Africa and in clinics worldwide for detoxification from heroin, amphetamines and cocaine.

Once again the prohibitionists are the problem rather than the solution. And to have the right-wing Lorenzin reconfirmed in the new government as Health Minister seems to ape the selection by US President like Donald Trump of an Attorney General quite worried that if KKK smoke cannabis they’ll slack off on lynchings. The caretaker government is bad news for all those striving for honest and effective drug policies after the substantial failure of the UNGASS 2016 in New York.

We would like to hear some self criticism by the italian Premier Mr. Gentiloni, who as a compassionate Christian ought to want humane and effective treatment for drug dependent people.
But opponents of prohibition are at odds as well, with some people rejecting ibogaine as a progenitor of a drug free world.

ENCOD exists to promote self-government of all drug users and the development of just and effective drug policies, included self production and the right of the indigenous people to protect their cultural heritage.

The case of the ban of Ibogaine by the Italian government has not been sufficiently contested by social movements and by the anti-prohibitionists in the italian Parliament. In this, those not striving for radical change embrace the policies of hyper exploitation of drug patients.

Not only the so-called drug control is a complete fiasco as to the freedom of treatment but also some NGO’s seem to go along just to make prohibition a bit more human. As a famous philosopher wrote, many NGO’s might be considered as the guardians of the Empire just like the trade-unions are implicitly the sellers of human labor.

Meanwhile in the United States, an almost simultaneous ban of Kratom has been halted because public outcry forced the DEA to reconsider. A lot of people found the active ingredient, mitragynine, much better for their chronic pain than opiates, and the DEA had decided too many people were using it at home to wean themselves off heroin. So the case of kratom shows that social movements can reverse the ban of ibogaine and kratom in Italy as well.
Possibly because of the focus of 300 MP’s to regulate recreational cannabis, it is worthwhile to point out that Lorenzen’s order banning both mitragynine and ibogaine was issued in the same month as the DEA attempt to schedule kratom. (The U.S. banned ibogaine in 1967, but it remains legal in most countries).Therefore ENCOD and US activists will propose a meeting in the Italian parliament about the benefits of ibogaine, widely used in neighboring countries like Serbia, where many Italians dependent on substances like heroin, meth or cocaine go to get detoxed. See http://www.addictiontreatmenteurope.com/drug-addiction-rehab-clinic

The role of the governments that wake up some morning pretending to ban natural therapies is highly controversial since the control regime makes legitimate access to medicines almost impossible in most countries. The belief that UN conventions allow legitimate therapeutical use of controlled substances is just a lie. Let’s just think what has happened with pain treatments in the last 100 years and what would happen if ketamine would be also controlled as cannabis or opium in countries like India as requested by China, the main exporter of NPS.

Ibogaine is not habit-forming, and has zero abuse potential because of side-effects including movement-induced car-sickness during the acute phase. Ibogaine is used all over the world as the "Cadillac of detoxes." It does this by eliminating withdrawals, inserting a long-acting serotonergic metabolite to combat depression, and expressing the nerve growth factor—GDNF—which not only re-sprouts dopamine receptors but back-signals the cell nucleus telling it to make more GDNF even after ibogaine has left the body.
For more than 30 years addicts have been taking "flood doses" of a gram or more in order to get the cognitive benefits of the near-REM dream state during the first, most intense phase of the ibogaine experience. But in a very small number of cases flood-dosing leads to bradycardia arrest (dangerous slowing of heart), a transient syndrome that can be managed with adrenalin and bottled oxygen. That is why ibogaine must be given under medical supervision—a consideration that makes outright prohibition extremely problematic, since no doctor will participate in administering an illegal drug.

Recently extremely low doses of ibogaine between 8 and 16 mgs a day—far too little to produce any psychedelic effect—have been found to reverse neuro-degeneration of Parkinson’s disease. And ICEERS is about to publish a paper on a low-dose protocol was successfully used to detox some one from methadone. So it is not necessary to flood-dose, even though it may be preferable in many cases. The goal of the prohibitionists is clearly to foster the exclusive use of approved maintenance drugs like methadone and especially suboxone. This latest NIDA preparation, containing mainly buprenorphin with just enough naloxone to make it impossible to inject, is designed to keep addicts hooked for life on something that gives them absolutely no opioid reward.
The official Health Ministry announcement quotes in some cases the adverse conditions or the fact the substances are not been studied. (Ibogaine is among the most-studied drugs in the world, with results available for heroin and cocaine/alcohol (Brazil) although no large clinical trials have been completed due to resistance of partisans of agonist therapies). As to Kratom, she cited just one case of possible intoxication. With iboga, only that military police in Bolzano (S. Tirol) interrupted a curandero treating addicts with iboga root bark combined with Kambo (frog venom); and that they found heavy metals in the root bark. Obviously an outright ban guarantees that pharmaceutical grade ibogaine will never be available, and that doctors won’t be present to administer it. We call upon anti-prohibitionists to take a few minutes from the fight for cannabis to combat this stealthy fascism by completely ventilating the matter in Italian Parliament.

by Enrico Fletzer & Dana Beal

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The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, is a pan-European network of currently 160 NGO’s and individual experts involved in the drug issue on a daily base. We are the European section of an International Coalition, which consists of more than 400 NGOs from around the world that have adhered to a Manifesto for Just and Effective Drug Policies (established in 1998). Among our members are organisations of cannabis and other drug users, of health workers, researchers, grassroot activists as well as companies.

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